Bach on the banjo is not a new idea. Some might scoff at the highest music being played on the lowest of instruments, but all I can say is give it a listen.
I chose to explore his cello suites on the tenor banjo, as both instruments share the same tuning, albeit an octave apart. This allowed me to play pretty much the left-hand fingering used by cellists, and has given me an appreciation of the physical nature of this seemingly abstract music.
In my arrangement, not a note has been added or taken out.
One day soon I hope to record Bach’s cello music on a cello banjo, at the same pitch as for the cello. In the meantime, here is his first suite for cello, performed on a Deering Eagle II Tenor Banjo, with the resonator taken off, and the pitch lowered by a minor third. The lower pitch increases the warmth and resonance of the banjo, and renders it, in my opinion, more suitable for Bach’s deeply expressive music.
Comments welcome below, or via email@example.com
Or hear all pieces in one file in the following video:
Encouraging Comments (it seems people like Bach on the banjo!)
Wonderful! This stuff really rings my bell. I am so glad you did this. It shows another way that the banjo can be used to great effect. Your work can and I hope will, bring new paradigms to our favorite instrument. With that, I hope new devotees will flock to our shores! Superb playing my friend! Steve Caddick www.stevecaddick.com tenor banjo instructor
Superb! Thanks for putting these all together in one place – I have been listening to the MP3s – but I had to start each one in turn. This is lovely. Mzeesimba
Absolutely beautiful Rob, stunning! Neil Connor
From Banjo Hangout:
Wow! BEAUTIFUL! Well done, Rob!
Remarkable. The suites are some of my favorite music of all time. Never thought I’d hear them on a banjo. Sounds terrific.
Oh, this is beautiful. I’m going to play it for my students so they can hear the versatility of the banjo.
Rob, another fine posting! You not only play well, but you’ve got the tone and feel of the pieces just right…there is almost a harpsichord quality to your attack here. As I’ve said before, you seem to have the touch…that ability to play and interpret music in a way that most of us lack.
Bach would be quite proud, I’m sure. I’ve listened to these recordings over and over . . . this is masterful work and I’m grateful for your gifts.
Since the first video I saw of you playing some obscure Scottish lute piece, it’s been a pleasure to follow the music you’re making. Fine job indeed!
This is magical to listen to, truly enhancing and quality. Keep playing please.