Miniseries #008, Cluck Old Hen II

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Miniseries #008, Cluck Old Hen II

Hi Everyone,

Syncopation.......what is it? I like to think about syncopation in music as playing and or hearing something that is unexpected to the ear. If we go back to the vamping series , we can relate syncopation in rhythm by listening to the strong down beats of 1 and 3 and add syncopation by playing something on the off beats of 2 and 4.

We can also use syncopation in our "lines"....... by lines, I mean the notes we select to play any given tune or song in our soloing. If we were to take a line using single string or Keith/Thompson stylings, we can use syncopation by starting our lines on something other than the down beats. Also, we can use syncopation by using rests in our lines and picking up the line in an unexpected place.

Remember we can break up a measure using any combination of notes or rests. We can use whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, thirty second notes or rests to break up a measure any way we want to. We can break up our lines using syncopation using any fractions of notes or rests that we would like as well. You can practice by playing a simple line on the down beats, then play the same line on an off beat and try to listen to the results. You can start a line at any given fraction throughout a measure, or, you can start a line with no syncopation and add syncopation along the way.

We can also use syncopation using the Scruggs style. We can take any given roll or roll pattern or lick, and use the same methods described above to get syncopation in the style. You can experiment by taking a simple roll or pattern or lick at trying the same excersises mentioned above. This we take a little time and practice, and a good place to explore is in jamming with others. A comfortable Jam will allow you to try some of these things out. You may even find yourself using syncopation without realizing it.

We'll be discussing more about syncopation and many other things along the way of the Moose in future lessons.

Rock On All,


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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 His video hosting site was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, 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.