Lesson #115, Cumberland Gap III

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lesson #115, Cumberland Gap III

Hi Everyone,

In this video I came up with a variation for the last measures in the first part of this song using an E minor position, which we know from our studies of relative minors will work over the chord of G major, which is the key of this song.

Lets take a look at the position for a moment. If we form an E major chord using the second string position on the second string, fifth fret, we have an E major chord. Now we flat the third degree (from lessons on Minor chords), and you can see in the video we now have an E minor triad. I based this section on the E minor chord using the second string position. Its just a little variation to break up the more standard version.

You can see the importance of understanding the relative minor within this variation. Its use is coming directly from the relative minor. Try to come up with your own variations using the relative minor, its a cool way to spice a piece up.

Also mentioned in this video was listening to your own playing. When you are playing any given tune or song, does it sound right to you? Do you think the timing is right? If you think something doesn't quite sound right, you are probably correct. By listening to your own playing , whether you record yourself, or just listening to what you are playing at any given time, will tell yourself what you probably need to work on, and is good for self evaluation.

Keep it rollin,


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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.