Round Window Institute, the non-profit entity that manages Banjo Summit and the Modern Mandolin Workshop, has announced the launch of a print side, Round Window Press, to publish instrumental transcription projects.
The first book will be for virtuoso modern banjoist Wes Corbett, including tablature transcriptions for his 2021 Cascade album. The record features ten of Corbett’s instrumental compositions, bridging all of the contemporary three-finger banjo styles – roll-based, single string, and melodic. He has become a prominent name in the jamgrass scene as the banjo man with the Sam Bush Band this past few years.
Cascade Transcriptions for 5-String Banjo will be available on April 26, and pre-orders are enabled now online. The book sells for $25, and includes notation for all the banjo solos from the record, plus performance notes from Wes for those learning his music. Special details and difficult passages are pointed out with tips on how to execute them in the notes for each piece.
Round Window is a project of Jake Schepps and Adam Larrabee, both contemporary banjoists with a mission to support and promote taking the instrument beyond bluegrass music, with a focus on classical and composed music for the five string. They have plans for several other books in the near future, including a set of Béla Fleck transcriptions from My Bluegrass Heart, and one for Larrabee’s 24 Preludes Volumes 1 and 2.
Jake shared a bit about what they hope to offer with Round Window Press.
“We are hoping that the Cascade book (and those to come) are very new and different. We have focused on readability, and each note was considered whether it is intuitive or not (that being normal within the standards of bluegrass banjo technique). If it was not, or fit into a theme of Wes’s playing, we added right- and left-hand fingerings (though keeping most off the page to avoid clutter). Each tune has an introduction from Wes and detailed Editor’s Notes highlighting the stylistic choices Wes has made, and how he employs some of his characteristic techniques.
Tunes are presented in a lead-sheet format with chords so it is obvious how each tune is structured and could be played with others.While not an instructional book, we include a detailed ‘How to Use This Book’ section in hopes that these ideas can be incorporated into your own playing. Also included is a section on Sample Backup. Us banjo players have a good sense in bluegrass how to back up songs and fiddle tunes, but not much is written bout how to back up new acoustic tunes with altered chord changes and different grooves.
And there is a lot more. It is the book Adam, Wes, and I always wanted as we were coming up.”
Wes provided the transcriptions for the melodies, or heads, of the tunes, and Adam did the solos. Jake served as editor and proofreader. The Cascade book will be offered initially in print form, though PDF download options may be added at a later date. A PDF book of chord charts for all of the songs on Cascade is also in the works, edited by Alex Hargreaves.
We have had a glimpse at the Corbett book, and it is quite professionally produced with easy to read typeset tabs.
This a very welcome development in the banjo world. Expect to hear more from Round Window Press in the near future.