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The song Grandfather’s Clock, composed by Henry Clay Work and published in 1876 to widespread acclaim (selling over a million copies of the sheet music), has extra sentimental value for me.
It’s one my grandmother (and mother) used to sing it to me, and is the first “favorite” song I ever had.
It’s also the first music recording I ever made, a solo vocal track on cassette at the age of 2.
And not only does it sound great on the banjo, it also gives you the opportunity to practice your chimes (see measure 29 below)!
Also known as harmonics, these can be played by resting your fretting finger lightly over the string at the 12th fret. They’re not that unusual in the world of bluegrass banjo, but are seldom employed by the clawhammerist.
gDGBD tuning, Brainjo level 3
Notes on the Tab
In the tab above, you’ll note I’ve tabbed out both a “lead break” (something to play in between verses) and the “vocal backup” (what I play while I’m singing).
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
PRIOR SONG OF THE WEEK EPISODES
- Episode 1: “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow”
- Episode 2: “Gumtree Canoe”
- Episode 3: “Crawdad Hole”
- Episode 4: “Oh Susanna”
- Episode 5: “Freight Train”
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.