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Thread: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Amazing. That is a classic that should be required viewing for all members.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    If that does not settle all debates about music theory I cannot imagine what possibly would.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Hilarious in places ....

    Not sure I would trust Jimmy Martin as an authority on BG history (or music theory). The original recording of Blue Moon of Kentucky was in the key of Bb, not A. The rerecording in 1954 was in the key of C (not B) , and Monroe stuck with that as long as he could handle it (or perhaps even longer).

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Beyond Classic.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Speak to me, Great One Tooth of Knowledge......
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    And Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

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    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Finally! All the answers in one place

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Ralph...In the olden days a lot of bands tuned one note higher than standard so your info about what keys those songs were recorded in might be because the bands did just that....Also a lot of them just tuned to where ever the guitar happened to be on a given day, some did have tuning forks or a harmonica but that was about it....Grab an original Flatt and Scruggs record and see if you can play along with it if you are tuned to standard using an electronic tuner...I am not saying you are wrong with the info, just stating what might have been the case ...

    Willie

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    All im gonna say iz, they's life befora I seen that video, and they's niyow.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Soper View Post
    Most enjoyable 20mins I've had since I don't know when. Thanks for posting!

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    I took in that interview then listen to some of the tapes and I guess home movies that YouTube had along with it of the first BG festival in fin castle. Monroe, Martin, Reno, Wiseman, etc. The sound was far from perfect, a large group of mic, all cluster together.
    (I think each dj and recorder had their own) but only one for the PA apparently,yet the mix was acceptable. Anyone listening to this will know once and for all what is BG

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Now, THAT’S Bluegrass!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    I guess I have some theory ideas that are not correct. I never heard chords explained that way.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    It's easy, just move your finger up and the chord is diminished. Very straight forward
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    It's easy, just move your finger up and the chord is diminished. Very straight forward
    Oh, and enharmonic to an E gads and a D molished, I assume.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    I think I understand why I stopped drinking moon shine after the he second taste!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Those two guys must have the longest arms in the world, They just can`t stop patting themselves on the back all of the time...I almost fell off of my chair when Martin said he was sorry for interrupting Carlton`s explanation...Never heard him do anything like that ever before...

    Willie

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    The expression on Jimmy Martin's face at 3:30 ... priceless. "What strange world is this? ..."
    Last edited by jesserules; Oct-20-2017 at 5:07pm.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Two men who knew more bluegrass than most anyone.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    Ralph...In the olden days a lot of bands tuned one note higher than standard so your info about what keys those songs were recorded in might be because the bands did just that....Also a lot of them just tuned to where ever the guitar happened to be on a given day, some did have tuning forks or a harmonica but that was about it....Grab an original Flatt and Scruggs record and see if you can play along with it if you are tuned to standard using an electronic tuner...I am not saying you are wrong with the info, just stating what might have been the case ...

    Willie

    Professional bands have always tuned to a fixed common reference. In the studio that would most likely be a piano.

    Flatt&Scruggs were indeed known to often tune a half-step sharp, at least in the early days. E.g., Why Did You Wander was done in Ab, whereas Monroe’s earlier recording was done in the key of G.

    I know of only two sessions where either Monroe’s band tuned a half-step sharp, or there was some fiddling with tape speeds. The first was Christmas Time Is Coming/The First Whippoorwill. The other was the session that produced Brown County Breakdown.

    In the 1954 version of BMoK Monroe takes a short solo over the chords of the bridge and there’s a very typical C major gesture: ripping from the low g to c on the 4th course (impossible if tuned sharp) followed by an octave jump; and Edd Mayfield is apparently playing in open position.

    Of course, Monroe may very well have tried it in B with Martin in the band. And he was constantly changing keys on some of his songs — In the Pines could be in E or F, “Blue Yodel No. 4” (actually, No. 3) could be in Bb, B or C. The original recording of Georgia Rose (with Martin) was in C, the second (with Mayfield and three fiddles) was in B.

    The first version of BMoK was recorded at a half-session that produced 7 or 8 complete takes in 80 minutes. It’s hard to imagine a band retuning (and re-retuning) in mid-session for the sake of just one song. It’s even harder to imagine them tuning sharp for a full session where the other songs were in the key of A, G, and C. Monroe’s solo is like nothing he would play in A, in a high position and to my ear without the use of open strings.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Before electronic tuners we always tuned to a harmonica if one was available. Don't know why one of us didn't buy one. In answer to a previous post, I never heard two pianos that were in the same tuning, maybe in a professional studio they would be standard but a piano tuner told me once they just tuned to the majority on what was already there not to any standard.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    I think I got some bad drugs.......what an interview. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    Phew, gave me a headache.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    That interview is amazing,,from what I can understand,,there's parts in there were I think you might need an interpreter...

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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Music Theory (?)

    "That interview is amazing,,from what I can understand,,there's parts in there were I think you might need an interpreter..."

    Or a couple of slugs of moonshine...

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