banjo boosted

I wrote a thing for the equinox. I began working on this *last* fall and managed to get it cleaned up for this year. Not sure I'll have it rehearsed enough to record tonight but I can at least share the dots:

#mastomusic #banjo #classicbanjo #fingerstylebanjo #equinox #autumn #standardnotation

sells a book on arranging for barbershop harmony, which I'll probably check out sooner or later.

I am definitely jonesing for the singing I missed last night though. I wish I'd taken my friend up on his invitation a long time ago.

I'm ambivalent about the newer stuff; I do believe any organization/genre needs to evolve to stay relevant, but I'm not crazy about the flashier arrangements and tendency towards having some voices doing "doo wop" style rhythms rather than maintaining homophonic melodies.

But, it seems like a pretty big tent and I'm sure it's easy enough to find people interested in digging up obscure old songs and/or writing things in an old fashioned style. it seems like that's been a thing for a pretty long time. Lurking in the /r/barbershop subreddit and watching videos of contemporary quartets and choruses, I get a sense there is a certain amount of impatience with the same old repertoire. Indeed, my chorus sings "Can you feel the Love Tonight" (Tim Rice/Elton John) and an arrangement of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".

#barbershopharmony week 3/musings 

#barbershopharmony week 3/musings 

#barbershopharmony week 3/musings 

In general, I love the tone of the answers on the above FAQ page (which are along the lines of "Why wasn't this put to a membership vote") which are unapologetic and mostly boil down to "It is the 21st goddamn century and we want this organization to still be around in another 20 years, and if we put it to a popular vote that's not going to happen"

It could be asked "then why use those terms like men and women in the first place" but I think that the BHS is wisely trying to teach a group of 80,000 men to walk before they can run.

Existing chapters are allowed to keep a 'men only' policy if they want, but I feel like that's also a baby step to ease the transition. If membership plummets in coming years because of hide-bound old men, I doubt BHS will hesitate to force the issue.

Furthermore, there is an explicit (if subtle) message of inclusivity on the above FAQ page:

"The Barbershop Harmony Society values and respects people of all genders, identities, orientations and expressions. Throughout these materials, the general terms “men and women” should be understood to encompass and include all people, without intent to exclude anyone."

The more I learn about the society the more encouraged I am by the institution at a national level; I was unaware that last year they announced a strategic vision called "Everyone in Harmony," the key component of which is dropping the society's 80-year old "no gurlz allowed" policy.

I've been squatting on the domain `` for a few months and I am continually tempted to spin up a banjo-player themed mastodon instance. But I know any hypothetical user base would be overwhelmingly skewed towards bluegrass/old-time players and I've had an account at long enough to know that I don't want anything to do with moderating a bunch of banjo players arguing about the correct way to foggy mountain roll, or using index vs middle finger for clawhammer

banjo boosted

Me: Check out this thing I wrote

All: ...

Me: Check out this thing I... that I generated with a neural network

All: HA omg

Neat harmony thing that I wonder exists in other choral/a cappella forms: "tag singing," where people will harmonize little bite-sized, 4-part bits of music; often the last 4 bars or so of a full song, but people write stand-alone tags as well. Easy & fast to learn, and I gather that people often exchange & sing them at gatherings; instant ice-breaker and bonding experience.

Might as well start hashtagging posts. The first three videos on this fellow's channel (as sorted from oldest to newest) are a very succinct introduction of this whole thing:

Poking around barbershop harmony videos on Youtube, I've come across a few people that do multi-tracked "one man quartet" videos - some of them also apply auto-tuning to each part. The combined matching timbre *AND* robotic pitch results in a very unpleasant (to my ears) uncanny valley effect.

Fun fact I learned while reading about barbershop harmony last night - the particular thing that makes it "barbershop" is the practice of harmonizing chords with perfect just tuning so that you get overtones strongly reinforcing each other and giving that peculiar/delightful resonance that you don't get from chords played on a well-tempered scale.

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