The song of the week is 'Soldier's Joy' in the key of D.
Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys (guitar & fiddle breaks) (starts at 3:50) - key of D
Larry Rice and the Bottom Dollar Boys (mandolin, fiddle, Scruggs-style banjo: tuned GCGBD, capo 2, & guitar breaks) - key of D
Earl Scruggs & John McEuen: a good example of Scruggs-style banjo and Clawhammer banjo being played together. Scruggs' banjo is tuned GCGBD; John McEuen's banjo is tuned GCGCE. Note: since there is no fiddle or mandolin here, they get away with playing Soldier's Joy in C (no capo) instead of D (capo 2).
Jason Homey & The Snake River Boys (fiddle, mostly Scruggs-style banjo, with a bit of single-string and melodic styles: tuned ADGBD, and guitar breaks) (starts at 7:53) - key of D
Jason Homey and the Snake River boys, IBA Open Mic, 10_22_19 - YouTube
Here are three youtube jam videos I have made for Soldier's Joy. 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 & Key
Soldier's Joy follows the most typical form for traditional fiddle tunes: AABB, with each A-Part and each B-Part being 8 measures long. (Total: 32 measures). Like most traditional fiddle tunes, there is only one key that it is usually played in: in this case 'D'.
1 1 1 5
1 1 1/5 1
(Prog. Y1 on the Basic Chord Progressions handout.)
1 4 1 5
1 4 1/5 1
(Prog. Y7 on the Basic Chord Progressions handout. This is the same progression that is used to play the A-Part of Boil The Cabbage Down.)
In the key of D: 1 = D; 4 = G; 5 = A.
'To capo or not to capo'
Many banjo players and some guitar players prefer to play Soldier's Joy in D by capoing to the 2nd fret and then playing it as if in 'C'. For this reason, I have included both key of D and key of C tabs for banjo and guitar in the files at the bottom of this write up..
If you have the capo on the 2nd fret for playing Soldier's Joy in D, then your chord shapes need to be the same as those for playing in the key of C without a capo: 1=C; 4=F; 5=G.
On banjo, no matter which of these two options you choose: capo 2 or no capo, you will need to raise your 5th string up to an A note (i.e., spike/capo your 5th string to the 7th fret) in order to be able to play an effective Scruggs-style or Clawhammer-style break.
Most Scruggs-style banjo players who prefer the capo 2 option tune their 4th string down a whole step so as to retain access to the lowest melody note in the tune when playing within the first 5 frets. (This is called 'C tuning': without the capo the 4th string will be tuned down to a C note. With the capo on the 2nd fret, the 4th string will then register as a D note when not fretted.)
Most clawhammer banjo players play Soldier's Joy either by tuning to Double C tuning: GCGCD or Open C tuning: GCGCE, and then capo to the 2nd fret in order to be playing in D.
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 Soldier's Joy and most other key of D fiddle tunes, for fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo.
Note: 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 opening break starts.
In place of the melody sheets that I usually include in the files section of the song of the week emails, I have given an assortment of breaks for fiddle, mandolin, guitar, 3 finger-style banjo, and clawhammer banjo. For those of you who find it helpful to learn from sheet music/tab, I suggest taking a look at each of the breaks provided for your instrument before you try any of them out. And, there is no need to learn/memorize any of the breaks exactly as written. You may wish to mix and match some of them with each other, and with the ways that you already play breaks for the tune, so as to create breaks that work best for you, both in terms of your level of playing ability, and personal preferences. Also, if you are able to read music written for instruments other than the one that you play at the jam, you can get additional ideas for breaks on your instrument from the breaks written for other instruments.
For most songs that use a progression that ends with two measures of the 1 chord (e.g., songs that use any of the progressions in row V, W, or X on the basic chord progressions chart), it is common for a two-measure ending lick to be played on one or more of the instruments over the last two measures of the progression to end the song. Most AABB tunes, however, do not use progressions that end with two measures of the 1 chord, and the last melody note in their parts almost always occurs at either the beginning or in the middle of the last measure of the progression, rather than at the beginning of the second to last measure of the progression. For these reasons, ending licks for AABB fiddle tunes almost always are played after the last measure of the final B-Part rather than during the tail-end of the final B-Part.
In the files at the bottom of this write-up, I have included examples of double-endings for fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo suitable for most key of D fiddle tunes. These are called 'double endings', for they consist of two 2-measure length ending licks played back to back.
16 songs were played at last night's jam: 9 from the main list, 2 from the additional songs list, and 5 that are on neither list:
Beautiful Brown Eyes - A
Boil The Cabbage Down - A
Buffalo Gals - G
Bury Me Beneath The Willow - A
Foggy Mountain Top - G
Gathering Flowers From The Hillside - G
I'll Fly Away - G
Soldier's Joy - D
Will The Circle Be Unbroken - G
Hand Me Down My Walking Cane - A
Mountain Dew - A
Faded Love - D
Jingle Bells - C
Go Tell It On The Mountain (played twice) - A & G
Good King Wenceslas - G
Silent Night - C
Have a merry Christmas!
8 Potato Intro in D
Double endings in D
Soldier's Joy - clawhammer banjo break 1
Soldier's Joy - clawhammer banjo breaks 2 & 3
Soldier's Joy - Scruggs-style banjo break 1
Soldier's Joy - Scruggs-style banjo break 2
Soldier's Joy - mandolin break 1
Soldier's Joy - mandolin break 2
Soldier's Joy - guitar break 1
Soldier's Joy - guitar break 2
Soldier's Joy - guitar break 3
Soldier's Joy - fiddle (mandolin, guitar, melodic-single string banjo) break 1
Soldier's Joy - fiddle (mandolin, guitar, melodic-single string banjo) break 2
Soldier's Joy - fiddle (mandolin, guitar, melodic-single string banjo) break 3