Friday, October 29, 2010

13 Days of Halloween (part X)

One of my favourite all time movies...Ghostbusters.

Here's the main riff bluegrass style...

And here's a larger arrangement...

The arrangement here covers the riff, a repeated A section, a repeated B section and then the riff again to close it. Not the whole whole song but enough for a solo banjo version not to wear out it's welcome.

What a great movie this was; great concept, great story, great characters, ghosts, Bill Murray...doesn't get any better.

13 Days of Halloween (part IX)

Here is Jacob and Chris Russell's minor key arrangement of Devil's Dream...

This one is tough on the banjo. I tried to keep the arrangement note for note while using as much melodic and as little single string as possible and this is what you get.

I use the left hand thumb ALOT in this one.

I like the minor key Devil's Dream alot. Standard Devil's Dream doesn't quite live uo it's title...feels like the devil's dreaming of peppermint patties and rainbow coloured unicorns. This one feels like he's dreaming real devil-like.

13 Days of Halloween (part IIX)

Here's a little bit of classic Halloween fare: the Monster Mash...

Pretty straightforward. You can grab the lyrics from a lyric sight and voila.

I'm behind schedule so will put a few more up tonight.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

13 days of Helloween (partVII)

Anyone remember a movie about a big fish that eats skinny dippers? This is the central riff from the Jaws theme by John Williams.

This is just the core of it and is super simple: a minor 2nd interval (distance from one fret to the very next fret).

This leads to the question of what makes scary music or rather what makes some music scary?

Minor keys will of course give a darker tone to things than major keys and most of the Halloween tunes I've included so far are in minor keys. Also certain intervals create an uncomfortable amount of dissonance and tension which leads to overall eerieness. The two most dissonant intervals (in my opinion) are the minor 2nd (as used in Jaws and Psycho) and the augmented 5th (tritone).

Here is an example in tablature of a minor 2nd...

And here is an augmented 5th (tritone)...

Try playing around with those and see what you think.

Part VIII coming very soon...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

13 Days of Halloween (part VI)

To switch things up a bit I thought I would include a scary metal guitar riff. This is the main riff from the song South of Heaven by the band Slayer.

Here is the main riff...

And here is the harmony if you have a banjo friend...

8 more to go...

Monday, October 25, 2010

13 Days of Halloween (part V)

This is a quick one:the 'Who dunnit?' riff.

We've all heard this one before, usually in the form of cheesy parody.

A character makes a striking revelation like "..but Johnny was with her in the garden just before her hedgeclipping accident!!". Then the riff comes in; "daaa da da da DAAAAAA".

Here's a video snippet...

And here's the tab...

13 Days of Halloween (part IV)

Day 4 brings us to the dramatic surf tinged theme song to the 6o's Batman tv show as written by Neal Hefti.

Like Mountain King in the last post this one is basically the melody set in what seemed the most logical banjo key without alot of additive arranging.

The key here is E. The oringinal is in Eb so if you want to get right to the source key tune down a half step from standard G (gb Db Gb Bb Db).

I've always liked this tune and we have a Batman in our family this Halloween so I thought I'd break it out.

You can play it either plucking entirely with the thumb or alternating thumb/index.

Here's the tab...

As with Mountain King I'll put a video up in the next day or so.

9 more to go...

Friday, October 22, 2010

13 Days of Halloween (part III)

Today's tune is the old Edvard Grieg chestnut In the Hall of the Mountain King.

I stuck it in the key of D minor as that seems to make best use of the banjos low range (such as it is).

The basic melody is written here. Played as written it can be used as a quote to bridge two songs or as an additional sacry but somewhat humerous section in atune.

It could also be worked up much more than this. Think of this as raw material to do with as you wish.

Here is the tab....

And I will get a video up soon.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

13 Days of Halloween (part II)

This second Halloween piece is really short. So short in fact that some might find it downright lame.

On the upside it is very easy to play, very unsettling and instantly recognisable.

It is the main motif of the Psycho theme played on the 1st and 5th strings.

I've used this one at Halloween gigs before and it is guaranteed to get a reaction (that reaction may be a chuckle) and can be used as an impromptu intro to another song or as colour commentary wheile another band member addresses the audience.

The video will be up soon but for now here's the tab...

More tomorrow...

13 Days of Halloween (part I)

Greetings all and sorry it's been so long since my last post.

Anyways I figured in the spirit of the season I would put together a string of posts, each containing a large or small bit of frighting ghoolish banjo. I call it the 13 days of Halloween.

Alot of these posts will be short and feature only a measure or two of terrifying music but for the first post I am going a little long. This is The Funeral March for a Marrionette AKA the theme song for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

I won't go into too much detail on the ins and outs of playing this one but will answer any questions anyone has.

Without further adieu; here is the video...

And here is the tablature...

Be sure to come back tomorrow same bat time, same bat station for part II of the Halloween banjo bunch.