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The Revolving Repertoire

There are the tunes you know and the tunes you don't know, but then there are also the tunes you used to know and ones you are forgetting. Those people who claim to know hundreds of tunes crack me up. Maybe because there are only so many my brain can seem to hold onto at any given time.

The last couple weeks, I've gotten a little more regular banjo playing time, and it's mostly been spent trying to remember the tunes I thought I knew. It seems every time I sit down to play the banjo, another tune sprouts to my memory, but its melody seems just out of reach, like a word that's on the tip of your tongue, but won't come out.

"Oh yeah, 'Half Past Four,' I used to play that. Now, how did it go?"

Maybe a few measures will fall under my fingers, maybe the whole tune will materialize. Listening to those stuck tunes usually helps, but not always. For the life of me, I can't remember how I used to play the B part of "Breaking Up Christmas."

I came to the realization a long time ago that the tunes I know now won't necessarily be the tunes I know next year. A friend of mine once said, when you learn a new tune, you lose an old one.

With me spending so most of my free time practicing the fiddle, the time I spend on the banjo feels like herding fruit flies. I'm furiously changing keys to play the tunes I used to know. A every time, there's another tune that pops in my head, and it's like, "Oh yeah! How did that go?"

And to think, I'm only 34. This could get worse with age.

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