Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

So, almost done. Pay a visit to

https://storage.googleapis.com/wzukusers/user-30315204/documents/5b...

Only about a dozen left

Views: 186

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Um, COOL!

I'll give it a going over this weekend.  Don't forget to put 2018 on the cover for future reference.

I'm just gathering them right now. I may try to format it in landscape.

Wonderful!  Now I know what I am going to do today!

Tim, I'm a little confused.  Can you explain the advantage or purpose of changing the Briggs tunes to the keys of A and E from their normal G and A ? 
Is there a movement afoot to raise the keys higher across the board for minstrel playing?  Or, maybe are you just changing the key on paper to position it more readable-located on the music staff ...but we're meant to keep tuning and playing in the keys Briggs indicated?

And what about fiddlers- can they just make the switch easily to playing tunes that they previously played in the key of A to playing them in the key of E , for example?  

I'm clearly missing something.

You can play in any key you want based upon the tuning of your banjo. This has to do with consistency and ease of reading......keeping all banjo specific arrangements to have the flagged 5th at E. 

Strumelia,

Tim did it for those of us who only know how (or prefer) to read standard notation in A/E, as in the Converse books. For context, look at the recent thread started by M’Lou...

According to Albert Baur, who knew Frank Converse, the pitch of the banjo was in A by the time or just after Converse wrote/edited the Briggs Banjo Instructor.  Pretty much all other books and music for the banjo published after Briggs up to about 1908 was in what is now called "A notation."

The hobby had settled on the pitch given in Briggs in the late 1990s but the fact is that by the American Civil War (what most "early banjo" reenactors were going for) the banjo was pitched to A (generally speaking-- we can't know what everyone did).

I have been vocal in my theory that the lower Briggs pitch was settled on by the hobby because it is as far from what is thought of today as a normal banjo as you can get.  A common affliction of reenactors is to focus on what is different from modern even if it was not common (when I was a "reenactor" of the 1880s era we called this a "reenactorisim"). 

But that is not the case here, the answer was given by Will.

That said, the lower G pitch is anachronistic for most portrayals of the early banjo, A being more common and correct.  And THAT said, one can play in whatever pitch they want.



Strumelia said:

Tim, I'm a little confused.  Can you explain the advantage or purpose of changing the Briggs tunes to the keys of A and E from their normal G and A ? 
Is there a movement afoot to raise the keys higher across the board for minstrel playing?  Or, maybe are you just changing the key on paper to position it more readable-located on the music staff ...but we're meant to keep tuning and playing in the keys Briggs indicated?

And what about fiddlers- can they just make the switch easily to playing tunes that they previously played in the key of A to playing them in the key of E , for example?  

I'm clearly missing something.

Tune it to any pitch you want. What we are really discussing is a  standard for reading notation. Why let one book written differently ruin your day? If Briggs' is written in A, then it is in line with every other banjo notation from that time, except for Winners 1864, but we never speak of that ugly stepchild. 

Timothy Twiss said:

Yes one can definitely tune and play in whatever pitch/key one wants to if playing solo.

This one is better......in landscape like the original.Briggs%27%20Revised%20Notation%20Book.pdf

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2018   Created by John Masciale.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service