So my ADHD brain had me taking another look at classic style banjo arrangements of Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag (you know, to record and release for Arbor Day 2022, because that's *minimally* how long it will probably take me to learn it well enough to record)
This was not the first time; there are a couple of arrangements out there in various keys in G and C (not surprisingly for 5-string banjo tuned gCGBD/gDGBD) but they never feel or sound quite right to my ears.
I watched a few clips of Aaron Jonah Lewis playing his own arrangement, and when I took a close enough look at some of his chords I was delighted to realize he's playing it in the original A♭major, which is why it just sounds correct in a way transposed arrangements often don't. Typical classic banjo gymnastics aside, it doesn't even look too tortuous.
Also, shout out to Bill Knopf and his bluegrass banjo arrangement of Maple Leaf Rag. I never met Bill but he was a teacher at the Blue Ridge Pickin' Parlor in Granada Hills, California, where I bought my first banjo and took my first clawhammer lessons.
They had his Maple Leaf Rag arrangement for sale at the store, and in hindsight its mere existence definitely planted the seed of possibility in my newbie brain; I didn't know a thing about classic style banjo at the time barely knew anything about ragtime, and I wasn't interested in learning bluegrass banjo, but the *idea* of it was intriguing.
I moved away from L.A. before I could really become a regular at the pickin' parlor; never got to attend any jams or become part of the community there, but I guess it felt enough like home that I still get big-time feels any time I see pictures or video of it, like this clip of Bill playing Maple Leaf Rag:
(The Blue Ridge Pickin Parlor moved to Encino in 2010 and closed not long after, IIRC )
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