A few centuries ago, in the days of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, people packed the symphony hall to hear the works of the greatest compositional minds of the day.
Today, instead of symphony hall, we pack the movie houses to hear the works of our greatest modern day composers.
It’s easy to overlook what they do. Rather than being the focal point of the occasion, the role of movie music is supportive. Yet it’s absolutely essential to the final work of art – Star Wars without a soundtrack would’ve surely flopped.
As would the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Beyond the fact that it’s produced by some of the greatest musical minds of our day, I’m also partial to movie music because its express purpose is to make us feel something. To heighten the emotional weight of a scene in a way that pictures and words alone could never do, which has always been music’s central role for me.[RELATED: Click here to read Laws of Brainjo, Episode 23: “Feeling Your Way to Mastery”)
The Magic of “Alternate” Tunings
Newcomers to the banjo – especially those from a guitar background – are sometimes perplexed and [needlessly] intimidated by the common use of alternate tunings in clawhammer banjo. One of the many reasons for their use is how different tunings, simply through the sympathetic vibrations of unplucked strings, can affect the background “atmosphere” of a tune.
For a great illustration of this, listen at the 56 second mark in the video above when I transition to the 2nd theme, by striking the 1st string at the 1st fret. Despite having struck only one string, the entire tonality and mood (going from major to minor sounding in a flash) of the piece changes, all thanks to the influence of the other strings in this tuning.
Lord of the Rings Theme
aDADE tuning, Brainjo level 3
Notes on the Tab
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes. To learn more about these, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
Level 2 arrangements and video demos for the Tune (and Song!) of the Week tunes are now available as part of the Breakthrough Banjo course. Learn more about it here.
Click here for a current list of all the clawhammer songs and tunes currently available inside of The Vault