Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

What's the scoop on this piece? Earliest banjo-themed music? I see references to it published for the piano-forte as early as 1802. The copy I have (a scan) is dated 1845.

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I'd be interested in seeing your 1845 scan of this...where is the scan from- sheet music or a book?

LOL, that was 3yrs ago. I've slept since then! I have no clue where I got the scan...in 2012, probably from an online source of some sort. I'll see if I can get it to re-surface.

Try here: https://jscholarship.library.jhu.edu/handle/1774.2/27528

 

Well, despite the usual 'happy carefree slave' theme, it still conveys that playing the banjo (bonja) can lift up the spirit and help ease our everyday woes.  I'm all for that.  Also- has anyone heard the name "bonja" used before, for banjo?   Could join 'banza' and 'banjar'.

Thanks for digging it up.   :)

I noticed that in the 1802 version, the second part goes to a 'C' natural and in the 1845 version it stays in the key of 'A'.

What reasons can you think of for that change, Al?  

Strum, I sense that you are toying with me and there is something obvious that I've overlooked.

Go ahead and tell me.  I won't feel bad.

No, not at all, Al!   Honest!   =8-o    I'm asking you because fiddlers often have insights as to why tunes and songs might get changed over time.  Like say straightening out the beats of a crooked tune in order to play it for dances, or changing a key so the fiddle fingering lays better, or to play with another instrument...etc.  I'm wondering if you might have some 'fiddler insights' that I would not think of. 

Well, it took me all day to understand what Al was talking about. I must have looked at it a dozen times before I 'saw' that. It isn't a key change (as in moving from Amaj to Cmaj), it is that all the C#s in the second strain are C-naturals. Duh.

What it does is that it takes it into the parallel minor (Am). An Am chord is A-C-E (Amaj is A-C#-E).

I didn't mean anything by it, Strum.  I just read your response as possibly, "Well Al, what do you suppose might be the reason for that change?  Hmmmm?"  ;)  I don't have any insights as to why in might have been changed.  Either way is not at all a fingering or timing issue and I doubt it originated on bagpipes and I don't know enough about music theory to think more deeply for a possible reason.  Not even sure which one I prefer!

Oh, ok.  Well then...

What reasons can you think of for that change, Al?   Hmmmmmmmmmm???   Al ???? 

lol!   ;D

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