Analysis of Murphy’s ‘Sally Goodin’ Part A and Part B1


Here’s my analysis of Part A and the first part of Part B of Murphy’s ‘Sally Goodin’ that I’ve been working on for several days now. This song is on Murphy’s “Advanced Earl” DVD, and I’d rate it’s difficulty at ‘very hard’–I guess that is to be expected, though.

This narrative goes along with the photo of the bit written out in FTab notation for the banjo.

Okay, first, take a look at the three squared bits of notation on the right side of the page. Those are three standard positions on the neck that are used in this bit. The first is the ‘C Gap,’ or ‘Cumberland Gap’ position. That first six eighth-note quads after the pickup notes uses that ‘C Gap’ position with three deviations, which are noted in red.

So the way to think about this is to think of it in terms of deviations from the ‘C Gap’ position. That gets you through the first six quads.

Next, look at the middle square on the right–that’s the ‘S Good,’ or ‘Sally Goodin’ position. For Quad 7, the fingers move to ‘S Good,’ a ‘3231’ is played, and everything moves back to ‘C Gap’ for the next bit.

Now look at the bottom square on the right side. This position probably has a name, but I don’t know what it is, so I’m calling it the ‘No Name’ position for now. I guess it must be a partial barre G, and probably so simple that it doesn’t need a name–okay. At the beginning of the B phrase there, a 0/5 eighth note played to give time for the left hand to move from the ‘C Gap’ to the ‘No Name” for that 12/1, also an eighth note (the rhythm requires it), then a little slide on the second string right back to the ‘No Name’ position. There is a deviation from ‘No Name’ there, marked in red as the other deviations were.

And that’s it! Easy IF–IF!–you think about it the right way. Just for fun, I’ve circled in blue ink the parts that give me the most trouble, but ultimately, this isn’t hard, just complicated.
Analyzing it this way makes it much easier for me to understand, which is the first step on the road to internalization.


Banjo player bringing the banjo to your town, hamlet, burg, village, and whistle-stop!

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