The Banjo Avengers

I just thought of a cool analogy for what music theory does for us.

My daughter has succeeded in getting her parents hooked on the popular Marvel movies. We started on some of the later movies (the Avengers series), and have been left somewhat confused, because we don’t know the complete “back story” of the numerous characters (whatever happened to stand-alone movies?). We are now embarking on the complete Marvel movie series, watching them in logical order (good thing I’m retired; I have time to watch all 22 of them!), in an effort to better understand End Game.

Do I need to explain the analogy? Music theory is the “back story” of music. Sure, you can go ahead and keep playing G7 to C without knowing that it is technically called a “tritone resolution” (just as you can watch End Game and be entertained, even if you don’t know the whole story); the thing is, knowing and understanding the tritone resolution as a concept makes it so much more interesting and, gives you conscious control over it. Want to improve as a musician? ‘Nuf said.

4 comments on “The Banjo AvengersAdd yours →

  1. Hi Ron, sorry I haven’t visited your site for a while now!

    Why not just call the G7 a dominant or dom chord?

    I think i am typical of most jazz players…? but as soon as I hear the word “tritone” my mind jumps to “Tritone substitution”.


    1. Will! You know, I still owe you a lesson. Well, the resolution part refers to how the Dominant resolves to the tonic, or to another Dominant in the case of secondary dominants. I find the contrary motion voice leading to be the key to how music in general moves.

  2. Ron, your thoughts on plectrum banjo technique and “CDS” have really struck a nerve with me. I know exactly what you are talking about.

    Here’s my existential banjo question, which I will share with you and anybody else who frequents this blog… anyone coming here I would consider to be a pretty sophisticated kind of person, banjo-wise…

    I play both equally well/badly, but my two jazz styles are chord-melody plectrum banjo, and jazz guitar, focusing on acoustic geniuses Lang, Django and Oscar Aleman… or as I call them, “the father, the son, and the holy ghost”…

    So when I really consider the limitations of the CGBD tuning for playing jazz on my banjo, it makes me start thinking I should try “Chicago style” also known as DGBE tuning.

    For me, that would mean I could transfer over to the banjo all my existing knowledge about single-string stuff straight from the guitar instead of spending a lot of time learning the same stuff in the CGBD tuning…

    Your thoughts, O Wise Voices From The Internet…?

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