Re: Noah Lewis, Devil in the woodpile?

Hey Rob

The short answer is that it doesn't make a lot of difference. But ...
The advantage of using the 3b is that you can build up some real speed since
you've eliminated one hole of lateral movement. The smaller the movement,
the greater the efficiency. It's up to the player whether this gets
translated necessarliy into greater speed. But if you like train workouts,
you'll find using the 3b very useful in that context too - and has nice
little "taste" in the mouth.
I'm not crazy about tab 'cause of the problems of notating rhythm, but the
riff kind of goes like ...
2D-2D  3Dbb-3D  4D-4D  3Dbb-2D  <pause>  who  hah.
Substitute 3B for 2D at will. The song ends on a 2D (check the draw chord.)
Since Lewis employs what have been described as "lifts" and "slaps", the
surrounding or in most cases lower-adjacent tones might tip you to whether
it's a 3b or a 2d - one's a "hit" the other's a "hut". Try both and you
might hear a little difference. If you do, this slight difference in sound
can be exploited to give you a less rigid feel. If you play the tune for
over 2 minutes, these little choices can make you feel less tied down. In
Old Time music there's not a lot of what we know as improvisation, but
acknowledging and using these alternatives at will (along with other
choices) can make the playing feel more spontaneous and fun.
I've started playing clawhammer banjo recently and notice similar things -
like forming a chord (or not) under that "one" note or brush that supposed
to be played. Could make the sound more "resonant" or not. Little choices
with no real earth-shaking consequences - kind of like cooking or dancing.
At two minutes in, the riff between the "who hah's" changes but still offers
the same choice of 3B or 2D. Instead of worrying about it, think of this as
an exercise: each riff starts on a choice of two ways and ends on a choice
of two ways - that's four ways to play it. Nobody else may be able to hear a
big difference in your "words", but at least you'll know what you're talkin'

Best of luck

Staggerin' Jim

- ----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert Venables" <robert.venables@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2003 4:36 PM
Subject: Noah Lewis, Devil in the woodpile?

> Anyone out there dissected this song? I'm having trouble nailing the riff
> inbetween the vocal calls. The notes are 2d 2d 3d 2d 4d 2d 3d 2d, but
> like 3b is substituting in places,
> Thanks
> Rob V
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