The Melody Arrangements (and How to Use Them)

Many of the songs on this site are taught in the form of four different arrangements and are categorized as Melody, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. The purpose of the melody arrangements is not really to play them as banjo solos but to break down the tune of a song to its foundation -- the melody.

The melody of the song is simply the notes that would be sung if you were singing the song. After practicing for a while you will find that picking the melody of a song out is usually pretty simple. The Level 1, 2, and 3 arrangements are all based on the melody arrangement. In fact, in arranging these songs I simply started by writing out the melody arrangement. Once that was done I would save that file as the melody arrangement, then take the same file and add bum-ditty strums to the melody to construct the Level 1 arrangement, and so on. It's really a pretty simple process!

As far as playing and learning the melody arrangements, if you are in the beginning stages of playing, making these melodies sound right on your banjo can be great practice. You should practice playing them with the back of the fingernail just as you learned in the lesson on the bum-ditty strum. If you haven’t learned the bum-ditty yet, now would be a good time for it.

Don't worry about being too perfect here. Moving along to Level 1 and combining the melody with the bum-ditty strum will ultimately provide much better practice.