Friday, April 2, 2010

Killer Endings - part 1

Someone suggested I do a post on endings so here it is.

I titled this 'Killer Endings - part 1' because really there is a whole galaxy of great endings to be discovered out there and I will post more periodically.

The ones I'll cover in this post are tag endings and to be more specific they are 'shave and a haircut' tag endings. "What is this 'shave and a haircut' thing" you ask? It is a short rhythmic pattern sometimes used when knocking on a door. Here it is in doorknock form...


You hear this rhythm very often in tags for bluegrass tunes. I will start out with a few of the most common examples.

Exhibit A is the first ending most banjo players learn.

Example 1


The second example is very similar to the first only dropped down an octave.

Example 2


The third example is a very slight melodic twist on the last one.

Example 3


The next ending is a longer tag that will be familliar to anyone who's seen Deliverance. It begins with 2 shave and a haircuts and finishes it off with some alternating thumb chord action.

Example 4


The next few examples are a little further from the beaten path. Example 5 varies things up with a standard opening leading to a small flurry of natural harmonics. (If you are not familliar with how to play natural harmonics I will explain them in detail in a later post but essentially they are bell like tones created by touching (but not pressing down as you would to fret) the string above the indicated fret.

Example 5


The 6th example is one I use on a tune I wrote called 'The Crowchild Ramble'.

Example 6


This next one is a bit of a fingerbuster. It begins with notes generated from a diminished chords and then finishes rather conventionally (shave and a haircut MarkII).

Example 7


The 8th and final example begins with a series of diminished triplets. They look difficult but once you get the left hand figured out it is quite like moving this left hand shape...
...and rolling over it.

Example 8


That's it for endings for now. Let me know if there are any questions and be sure to check back for the next post which will deal with transmogrification as it applies to banjo music.

See you then.

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