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bumper breakdown from Thorough School

“Juba Breakdown” is the first tune in Ellis’ Thorough School for the Six or Seven- Stringed Banjo (PDF). It’s a lot of fun to play.

Juba Breakdown (MP3)
Juba Breakdown (Ogg Vorbis)
Juba Breakdown (Ogg FLAC)
Juba Breakdown (MP4 video)

YouTube version:

This recording is 1:10 long. The tune would be a natural fit to connect segments in a larger piece like a radio play, so I have also clipped out shorter snippets to fit as needed:

13 second MP3 at 320K

54 second MP3 at 320K

Here’s the sheet music for people who are inclined that way (I use the 1st banjo part):

I’m playing it in an anachronistic style, something along the lines of 1930s country, which it absolutely wasn’t.

My recording is hereby in the public domain. Do whatever you want with it.

4 replies on “bumper breakdown from Thorough School”

Thanks man. I was skeptical of this piece when I saw it because it looked too simple to be for real, I thought it would be boring and monotonous, but actually the simplicity is the attraction.

From a quick look at that Fayetteville Polka thingie, I think it’s a happy dance tune like you’d hear in a riverboat gambling salon. You could easily rescore that piano writing for a banjo and violin just by giving the part on the bass stave to the banjo (or guitar/mandolin/etc) and the treble stave to the violin. I’m not finding a higher res version of the scan, though, and that one is a bit small.

I agree. it’s the simplicity that makes the piece. There’s a fellow over on magnatune who did piano tutorials, and that works, like this one, in the same way. I think, too, that the use of guitar rather than banjo helps steady and simplfiy the melody as well here.

i thought I’d try to sequence the Fayetteville piece into my synth, notes above the treble staff and all.
It looks pretty jaunty.

There’s an aspect of music making that’s purely about charm. You really don’t know before you do the piece how charming it will be. Sometimes you sweat a lot and get something great, sometimes sweating it out makes it worse.

I loved what your God Bless Our Land piece did with americana. Could easily see the Fayetteville source having the same dynamic.

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