132. Square Rolls

If my readers don’t know, I play the banjo. I’m no good at it, but I do enjoy it a lot. I love how the banjo sounds, and I love that it allows me to accompany myself while I sing my old-fashioned folk songs.

Aside: Buckley used to howl whenever I played the banjo, but he’s gotten used to it. Now he just watches it with distrust and skitters away when I come near him with the banjo in my hands.

Anyway, banjos are most commonly tuned to the key of G, so that when one strums an open chord on the banjo, it’s a beautiful, round G. The strings are tuned as in the diagram below.


Standard banjo tuning.


Now, when I say that I’m no good at the banjo, I really mean it. I took a few months of bluegrass banjo lessons at Swarthmore, but I haven’t taken any since. And the first thing you learn at a bluegrass banjo lesson is the most simple roll – the square roll. In the key of G.

And that is what I can do. I know a few chords, and I can pick out a 1-4-5 blues song. And it sounds lovely, thank you very much.

Maybe I can pretend that I stick to the square roll on purpose, out of solidarity with the rectangular cause. Hey, why not. That’s right, bitches. I stick to rectangles in every single aspect of my life. I am nothing if not committed, friends. You’re welcome.

October 31, 2012. Culture, Music, Rectangles.

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