MusEdit Features - Banjo

Using MusEdit for... Banjo Notation

MusEdit works well with any kind of banjo, including tenor (4 string) and  5 string banjos,
or any other kind of banjo tuning you want to work with...

MusEdit handles 5th String "peculiarities", and allows for adjustable offset fret, and adjust number of frets...

Banjo Fingering

     On five string banjo the fifth string begins at the fifth fret (with a separate tuning peg) and is sometimes individually capoed even higher up the fretboard.  It is usually tuned so that the open string has the same pitch as the first string fingered at the fifth fret (so that, unlike most stringed instruments, the fifth string is the highest pitched string rather than the lowest).  Because of this arrangement, fingering on the first physical fret of the fifth string is typically notated as a “6" on tablature (since it is the same pitch as the 6th fret on the first string), and so on up the fretboard.  If the Preference setting for “use Banjo fingering on 5th string” is checked, MusEdit will make an internal correction so that, for example, a “6" in the tab notation will be interpreted as “one physical fret above the open tuning/capo”.  The starting fret or capo position must be specified if this option is used.

Chord Selection, Chord Variations, and Chord Designer for Banjo Chords


The "notch" on five string banjo chord diagrams shows where the fifth string starts on the fretboard.

Permits Swing Timing...


    “Swing timing” means the time value of two 8th notes is divided so that the first 8th note of each pair receives 2/3 of the time and the second note receives 1/3 of the time.  This changes the sound of the 8th note pairs from “dum-dum-dum-dum-dum…” (equal duration of all 8th notes) to “dum-da-dum-da-dum-…” (a longer note followed by a shorter one).  An optional timing adjustment can be added to change the timing shift from the default ratio (66:33) to a different value.  Swing timing is often used with Banjo music.


    On MusEdit scores swing timing can be indicated by using the pair of swing symbols: , plus staff text for the “=” sign, and also for the optional timing adjustment.  MIDI playback will recognize these symbols and change the playback timing appropriately.


  To enter these symbols on a staff line it's best to enter the music on the staff first.  Once that is done, go back to the first entered symbol and click above it where you want the  symbol to appear, then click on the symbols toolbox to enter the symbol (or hit the "M" key).  Next, click above the next symbol in the staff line  (the second 8th note in the example above), and then hit Ctrl+Shift+T, and enter  “=”  in the staff text box.  Finally, click above the third symbol in the staff line and enter the  symbol.  If you want to add a timing adjustment click above the fourth symbol in the staff line and hit Ctrl+Shift+T and enter, for example, (60:40) as staff text.  MusEdit is flexible about the exact format of the text, so all of these are acceptable:

              .6 / .4       75:25       ( 66 - 33 )       [55 | 45]      1.2 + .8

You simply need one number, a separator (not space) and the second number.  Spaces are ignored.  To cancel swing timing later in the score, enter   using the same technique described above.


Virtual Banjo Fretboard...

When you float the mouse over any string and fret the corresponding note will be shown in the title bar.  Clicking the mouse at that position will enter that note on the tab line.  ( left-click enters a quarter note, right-click enters an 8th note, double left-click enters a half note, etc. )   During Midi playback the notes being played will be shown up on the fretboard, like the C note shown above. 

Samples of Banjo Scores:

(Note! Printed images will not have the jagged lines seen in these screen shots! See FAQ-Appearance)

FoundHarmonium.gif (24228 bytes)
Music for a Found Harmonium

HamiltonCountyBreakdown.gif (66653 bytes)
Hamilton County Breakdown

For more Banjo samples, please check out the Alternate Instruments section in the Music Library


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