The song of the week is 'Angeline The Baker', a key of D fiddle tune.
Nashville Bluegrass Band
Angeline The Baker - YouTube
Alison Krauss (starts at 3:56)
Jason Homey & The Snake River Boys (starts at 12:41)
Jason Homey and The Snake River Boys, IBA Open Mic, 2_24_20 - YouTube
Here are three youtube jam videos I have made for Angeline The Baker. I recommend starting with the one listed first. In that one, I am on guitar.
Jason’s YouTube Links – Alphabetical Listing – Parisology (cyberplasm.com)
Form & Progression
Angeline The Baker is a standard length AABB fiddle tune. By that, I mean that each part of the tune is 8 measures long, and that there are two parts to the tune, called the A-Part and the B-Part respectively. Each part is played twice before going on to the next part. So this means that each break for the tune is 32 measures long. (8x4) Other tunes on the current song lists for the beginner jam that have this same form are: Liberty, Old Joe Clark, Soldier's Joy, O Susanna, Boil The Cabbage Down, and Buffalo Gals.
The chord progression is the same for both parts of Angeline The Baker:
In the key of D: 1=D, and 4=G
There is no standardized order in which the two parts of the tune are played.
When asking the person leading the tune which part they intend to start with, it does no good to ask: Do you start with the A-Part or the B-Part?, because whichever part is played first is, by definition, the A-Part, and whichever part is played second is, by definition, the B-Part. However, the two parts can be distinguished from one another by calling them the low part and the high part. Like most AABB fiddle tunes, one part of Angeline The Baker starts on a higher note than the other part, and is overall higher in pitch than the other part.
When I call Angeline The Baker at a jam, I almost always start the tune with the high part. For this reason, in the melody sheets attached here, the high part is written as the A Part and the low part is written as the B Part.
On the first and fourth recordings given here, and on the three jam videos, Angeline The Baker starts with the high part. On the second and third recordings, the tune starts with the low part.
Since the chord progression is the same for both parts of Angeline The Baker, and since, in Bluegrass jam arrangements of this tune, it is usually only one person who plays the lead at a time, the need will rarely arise at a bluegrass jam to know in advance which part the leader intends on starting with. This is just as much the case at our beginner jam: for even though we do collective breaks in which all instruments of the same kind play their breaks at once, and some breaks in which all the instruments play their breaks at once, the person who starts the tune off gets to play through the form once (AABB) with no one else playing a break along with him. (During the first pass through the tune, everyone else besides the person who kicked off the tune should be playing backup.)
Nevertheless, it is important to pay attention to which part the tune starts with, the lower part or the higher part, for each person who does a break on the tune will be expected to play the parts in the same order as the person who kicked off the song. This is standard practice in bluegrass jams, and this procedure helps to minimize confusion.
The chord progression is unusual for bluegrass in that it does not have a 5 chord. In the key of D, this means that there is no A chord.
Melody & Breaks
Some guitar players prefer to play Angeline The Baker without a capo, whereas others prefer to play it with the capo on the 2nd fret and then play it as if in the key of C (In the key of C: 1=C, and 4=F) The same is true of 3 finger-style banjo players, except that they will usually have their 5th string tuned up to an A note (spiked or capoed at the 7th fret) regardless of whether they have a capo on the 2nd fret of their four long strings. I have included in the files at the bottom of this write-up guitar and banjo tabs of the melody of the tune written in both the key of D and in the key of C. You might wish to try playing it both ways, and see which way you like best.
You might notice that there are fewer notes on the banjo tabs than on the rest of the melody sheets. The reason for this is because most Scruggs-style banjo players tend to choose to play other notes in place of the melody notes in these spots that are more convenient to grab in the context of one of the standard picking patterns (rolls) that characterize Scruggs-style playing, but the exact choice of notes in these spots differs from player to player. A similar thing tends to be true also of Clawhammer banjo arrangements of Angeline The Baker.
When reduced to its most basic form, the melody for Angeline The Baker is major pentatonic. That is, it consists of 5 notes: major scale degrees 1,2,3,5, and 6. In the key of D, that means it consists of the notes D, E, F#, A, and B. (In the key of C, the five notes of the major pentatonic scale are: C, D, E, G, and A.)
The range of the melody of Angeline The Baker is relatively narrow for a fiddle tune. The range spans exactly one octave. The lowest note is the 5th scale degree (A), and the highest note is the 5th scale degree an octave higher (A). So, in ascending order of pitch, the notes are 5,6,1,2,3,5: A,B,D,E,F#,A. (In 'C', those notes would be instead: G,A,C,D,E,G.) The range of the low part is even narrower than that. Its highest note is the 3rd scale degree (F#).
Fiddle tunes with such a narrow range can often easily be played in two different octaves on fiddle, mandolin, and guitar (this is not so much the case with banjo). This is the case with Angeline The Baker: for, these three instruments each have 'A' notes in three different octaves that can be found on the instruments within the first five frets (or, on fiddle, in 'first position'). Most guitar, mandolin, and fiddle players who learn to play Angeline The Baker learn to play it in the higher of the two readily accessible octaves. For those of you who already play the tune, you might try working out a break an octave lower than how you usually play it, as a variation to have up your sleeve when, at a jam, you get called on to play more than one break during the tune. Or, since we do collective breaks at the beginner jam, where all the fiddle players play their breaks at the same time, all the mandolin players play their breaks at the same time, etc., if you have worked out a break in the lower octave, it can be effective to play this while someone else is playing their break in the higher octave. For this reason, I have included in the attachments melody sheets in both octaves for fiddle, mandolin and guitar.
On the first recording given in the recordings section, the fiddler plays the A Parts an octave lower on the third time (final time) through the AABB form, than how he played it on the first two times through the form. In the guitar and mandolin jam videos, I have included breaks in both octaves.
One final point about the tune. Unlike most tunes, the last note of the melody does not have the same letter name as the key the tune is played in. Instead of ending on a D note (the 1st scale degree), each part of Angeline ends on an A note (the 5th scale degree), the lowest note of its range.
8 Potato Intros
Since the most effective way to start most fiddle tunes at a jam is by playing an 8 potato intro before starting into the first A-Part of your intro break, I have included a file at the end of this write-up that gives 8 potato intros suitable for Angeline The Baker and most other key of D fiddle tunes, for fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo.
An 8 potato intro, reduced to its most basic form, essentially consists of droning the note that has the same name as the key of the tune in a highly rhythmic fashion for 4 measures. Accenting the first pickstroke (or, on fiddle, bowstroke) of each measure of the intro is crucial to an effective 8 potato intro, so as to make it unmistakably clear where each of the measures that make up the intro begin and end; it also helps to accent the first pickstroke/bowstroke of the second half of each measure, but this accent should not be quite as heavy as the accent on the beginning of the measure.
Choose a version of the 8 potato intro that works for you, but don't wait until you are at the jam to 'practice' it. Make it a habit to always start most of your fiddle tunes with 8 potato intros when you are practicing at home so that you will be better prepared to effectively use 8 potato intros when playing with others.
If you have pickup notes leading into the first complete measure of your break, you must cut the 8 potato intro short by playing the pickup notes in place of the corresponding part of the last measure of the 8 potato intro, so that you end up with exactly 4 measures worth of music, no more and no less, before the first full measure of your intro break starts.
Until recently, I have usually played Angeline The Baker without a double ending tacked on after the final B-Part of the tune when leading it at jams. For this reason, there is no double ending played on the Snake River Boys recording given here, and, in the jam videos, only the mandolin jam video has Angeline The Baker ending with a double ending. The tune ends with a double ending on the Sammy Shelor and Alison Krauss recordings given here. On Nashville Bluegrass Band recording, a single ending is used instead, and it starts half a measure earlier than where it is typical to start either a single or a double ending for a fiddle tune.
For simple examples of double endings on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo that are suitable for Angeline The Baker and for most other key of D fiddle tunes, refer to the 'Double Endings in D' file at the end of the song of the week write-up for Soldier's Joy. The file can be found here: Beginner Bluegrass Jam Songs - Idaho Bluegrass Association (scroll down to the very bottom of the page in the link.)
17 songs were played at last night's jam: 13 from the main list, 2 from the additional songs list, and 2 that are on neither list:
Angeline The Baker - D
Beautiful Brown Eyes - G
Blue Ridge Cabin Home - A
Boil The Cabbage Down - A
Down The Road - A
Long Journey Home - A
Mama Don't Allow - A
New River Train - F
Old Joe Clark - A
Shortnin' Bread - G
Soldier's Joy - D
Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong - C
Will The Circle Be Unbroken - G
I'll Fly Away - G
Jambalaya - D
Lonesome Feeling - G
Wildwood Flower - G
Angeline The Baker - banjo tab in C
Angeline The Baker - banjo tab in D
Angeline The B. - guitar tab, C, high octave
Angeline The Baker - guitar tab, C, low octave
Angeline The B. - guitar tab, D, high octave
Angeline The Baker - guitar tab, D, low octave
Angeline The B. - Mandolin tab, high octave
Angeline The B. - mandolin tab, low octave
Angeline The Baker - melody in D, high octave
Angeline The Baker - melody in D, low octave
8 Potato Intro in D