Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

lately i've been getting a fair number of inquiries about banjo history through my website. this has inspired me to begin to put together a proper bibliography/source list for visitors to follow up with. i haven't had time to really sit down and hash out anything that even approaches definitiveness, but i was able to fairly quickly come up with about 20 or so
entries. anyone want to chime in with anything i've obviously omitted? i am mostly trying to focus on scholarly research in the form of books, articles, and trustworthy electronically published sources that deal directly with the banjo, either from an organology or ethnomusicology (or general history) standpoint. for this reason i have generally left out
texts that deal broadly with minstrelsy rather than with the banjo specifically. i'm hoping to bolster it with some more sources on the topic of african lutes and banjo predecessors.

here's what i have so far. any suggestions?


Adams, Greg C. and Shlomo Pestcoe. The Jola akonting: reconnecting the banjo to its West African roots. Sing Out! 51(1), 43-51.


Carlin, Bob. The birth of the banjo: Joel Walker Sweeney and early minstrelsy. Jefferson [NC]: McFarland, 2007.


Conway, Cecelia. African banjo echoes in Appalachia: a study of folk traditions. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1995.


Conway, Cecilia. Black banjo songsters in Appalachia. Black Music Research Journal, 23(1/2), 149-166.


Coolen, Michael Theodore. Senegambian archtypes for the American folk banjo. Western Folklore, 43(2), 117-132.


Epstein, Dena J. Sinful tunes and spirituals: black folk music to the Civil War. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977.


Epstein, Dena J. The folk banjo: a documentary history. Ethnomusicology, 19(3), 347-371.

Gura, Philip F. and James Bollman. America's instrument: the banjo in the nineteenth-century. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1999.


Jagfors, Ulf. Banjo Attitudes: Early Afro-American Banjo.


Jagfors, Ulf. The African akonting and the origins of the banjo. The Old-Time Herald, 9(2), 26-33.


Jagfors, Ulf. The akonting lute, one possible ancestor to the banjo. Paper read at the Banjo Gathering, Nov. 8-11, Williamsburg, Virginia, 2001.


Linn, Karen. That half-barbaric twang: the banjo in American popular culture. Urbana: Univeristy of Illinois Press, 1991.


Nathan, Hans. Dan Emmet and the rise of negro minstrelsy. Norman [OK]: Univeristy of Oklahoma Press, 1962.


Nathan, Hans. Early banjo tunes and American Syncopation. The Musical Quarterly, 42(4), 455-472.


Pestcoe, Shlomo. Banjo Ancestors: The Early Banjo In the New World.


Szego, Peter. Searching for the roots of the banjo, Part II. The Old-Time Herald. 10(5), 10-20.


Tsumura, Akira. Banjos, the Tsumura collection. New York: Kodansha, 1984.


Webb, Robert Lloyd. 'Old Moke' afloat: notes on the minstrel origins of the banjo at sea. Log of Mystic Seaport, 35(4), 104-17.


Webb, Robert Lloyd. Ring the banjar! The banjo in America, from folklore to factory. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1984.


Wiedlich, Joseph. The early minstrel banjo: technique and repertoire. Anaheim Hills [CA]: Centerstream, 2004.


Winans, Robert B. Black instrumental traditions in the ex-save narratives. Black Music Research Newsletter, 5(2), 2-5.

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I really, really don't like the convention (religiously observed, here) of omitting the date of a serial publication. Is that lately imposed on us by some high authority -- like the head book designer at the U of Chicago, or whatever? I'd like to have the option of sorting these references in some kind of chronological sequence; i.e. Webb probably wasn't influenced in a 1984 exhibition catalog by what Adams published online in 2010, but the reverse stream of influence may well be in play.

Most such citations contain internal references to each other, and to many things not yet listed. For what that's worth. The more academic they are, the more likely that is. Looks like a good start; would be more useful if annotated; and what I said about dates, in the previous paragraph.

Don't overlook the recent work of Lucas Bowman... because he reads this forum, and may know where you live.

http://minstrelbanjo.ning.com/forum/topics/joel-sweeneys-role-in-the
agreed about the lack of dates for serials. i just went with that formatting because i didnt have all of the dates at hand when i typed this up (its still a draft). also, a note: im not using this for serious research purposes. its mostly for people who are relatively new to the banjo, and who i assume will just be using this information to enter as title/keywords searches into OPACs and search engines shoudl they be interested in one of these titles, as opposed to using this as a basis for serious research. a complete list of dates certainly wouldnt hurt, though.

in any event, lucas does know where i live, and i forgot about his recently completed research. will add it once i come up with the citation. thanks!
Hi Jay,

Nice list. A few on there I hadn't seen before. Just ordered the "Old Moke" article from ILL.

Since Bob Winans has all of his banjo-related articles on his website, I would include all of them on your list:

http://sites.google.com/a/wildblue.net/winansbanjo/

Brian

ps--Are you heading to the MFA from the Square on Monday? Want to head over together? Either way, I hope to see you there.
hey brian -

thanks for the link!

i plan to head over, but i have a new job here, and am out on the LMA now. look me up in the directory and send me an email (also have a new address).

hope to see you there as well (is it confirmed that its still happening?)






Brian Welch said:
Hi Jay,

Nice list. A few on there I hadn't seen before. Just ordered the "Old Moke" article from ILL.

Since Bob Winans has all of his banjo-related articles on his website, I would include all of them on your list:

http://sites.google.com/a/wildblue.net/winansbanjo/

Brian

ps--Are you heading to the MFA from the Square on Monday? Want to head over together? Either way, I hope to see you there.
It is still happening, according to Bob Kilham, who is scheduled to play the banjo during the lecture. So I guess I will see you there.

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