"Marching Through Georgia", Music by Henry Clay Work, arranged by Eric Lugosch|
Georgia" was penned by Henry Clay Work, a well known mid-1800's American songwriter whose most enduring
song is probably "Grandfather's Clock". On my latest recording, New Tradition, I included a version
of "Marching Through Georgia" in open-D tuning (D A D F# A D) based on Tom Paley's banjo version, which
can be heard on the 1962 anthology Folk Banjo Styles (Elektra).
The first line gives the march feeling
we're looking for in the form of an independent bass line, which will ride under the melody throughout
the entire piece. Be sure to play all bass notes (downstemmed notes) with your picking-hand thumb.
If playing a melody with an independent bass is a new challenge for you, start by playing just the melody
with the left-hand fingering (pinky and middle finger) indicated. This might seem awkward at first,
but in the long run it will help with the flow of the tune. Bring the bass line back in once you're
comfortable with the melody.
Notice that the second A (measures 21-36) is just a variation of the
first A theme (measures 5-20) with a few changes, like the ascending bass line in measures 25-26, instead
of the decending bass line in measures 9-10. To learn sections quicker, it helps to home in on similarities
throughout the piece. For example, the phrases in measures 13-16, 29-32, 45-48, and 53-56 are similar
enough that you can practice them together. Also notice that the turnaround A chords on the second beats
of measures 17 and 33 are subtle inversions of one another.
The B section starts on the last beat
of measure 36, and it's important that you play that third-string note with your right-hand thumb. The
same thing occurs on the last notes of measures 37-42. In measures 43-44, look at the left-hand fingerings
before you try to execute the whole line.