Classical Banjo – Schubert for 5-string Banjo

Schubert was one of the most prolific composers of all time.  His music was written during the transition of late Classical into the Romantic period.  He has always been one of my favorite classical composers.  Had he lived longer, there’s no telling what his output of music would have been.  He had quite the knack for composing rather quickly.


Seven Schubert Pieces arranged for Banjo

Classical Banjo isn’t something one hears often.  This is mostly because a great deal of classical music doesn’t fit well onto the 5-string banjo.  It’s much more common to find Baroque-era music like Bach arranged for banjo.  This is because the banjo can have an almost harpsichord like sound that fits that era well.  In addition, much of the baroque era music is not written for a specific instrument.  The 5-string banjo has a more difficult time of adapting piano music.  It’s not impossible, it simply has to be chosen carefully.   

Many of these pieces remind me of something that the classic-era (parlor) banjo players played in the late 1800’s.

Contents of this Schubert Banjo Collection

Here is the YouTube Playlist where you can watch the pieces played.

How I chose this music

I wanted pieces that weren’t too long, so the student wouldn’t get overwhelmed.  There’s nothing quite like memorizing and playing through  a multi-page monstrosity of music.  However, if you’re still working on it six months later, one can get burned out quickly.  With this collection, the intermediate-advanced player can get a number of classical pieces in their repertoire at a faster rate.

I also liked these pieces because they didn’t use harmony that was too complicated.  One of the pieces consists only of a D and an A major chord.  This makes the pieces really good ear training and harmony teaching tools.


This classical banjo collection is not for beginners.  You will want to know all of your major and minor chord shapes up and down the fingerboard.  In addition, you’ll need to be familiar with melodic-style and some single-string techniques.

Left-hand fingerings are given above the TAB and the right hand fingerings are below the TAB if not standard patterns.  Please pay close attention to this; it will things go much smoother.

A link to my YouTube playlist of these pieces is located here.  Not only will you be able to see me play the pieces, but I also provide links to some piano play-throughs as well.

Please note-In the event that one has an incredibly difficult time with something, I have overed some suggestions on things to drop from the arrangements until the technique is built up.

Jody Written by:

Professional Musician of 27 years. I've performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, The Grand Ole Opry, and The Ryman Auditorium. I've also played in 6 different countries. All things Banjo and Acoustic Guitar.