Lesson #064, Playing the Melody and Improvising with Rolls Around the Melody II

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lesson #064, Playing the Melody and Improvising with Rolls Around the Melody II

Hi Everyone,

In this video, here is one way to play the melody of Bile em cabbage down using the second and third strings. In the first example I'm using whole notes. Remember the whole note has 4 beats associated with it. I also used half notes in the seventh measure. The half note has 2 beats associated with it. You can count along with me and hear for yourself the use of the whole and half notes.

Once we know what the melody notes are, then we can start to fit the pinches and rolls of the right hand around the melody notes. We can start with 1/4 note pinches if we like. You can hear the melody notes within the pinches. Something I didnt talk about yet, but I will make mention of it just a little bit now, is accenting a note. I dont want you to be too concerned with accenting right now, I just want you to concentrate on the pinches and rolls and the melody, but I will say this... You can add definetion or accent to a melody note buy playing the melody note a little harder than the surrounding pinches or rolls within. By playing the melody notes a little louder and harder can make it stand out more. Again..... I don't want you to be concerned with accenting right now, I just wanted to make mention of it.

We can also use the rolls and patterns to weave in and around the melody notes as well. Try the pattern of the forward roll we have gone over in the past as in the video. Again we can play the melody notes within the pattern while still keeping the 4/4 time, and keeping the timing straight within a measure.


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.