Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Al Smitley
  • Male
  • Hartland, MI
  • United States
  • 1968-1976 then minstrel banjo since…
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Al Smitley's Friends

  • Karen and Timmy Person
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Al Smitley's Discussions

EABG

Started this discussion. Last reply by Wes Merchant Mar 14. 3 Replies

Some time ago, I think it was Wes who said that there might be interest at the Pry House/Barn about rejuvenating the EABG.  Are there any updates about that?Continue

Site format

Started this discussion. Last reply by Al Smitley Feb 20. 2 Replies

For the past half-week, I get a list of forums but cannot find a way to list the latest activity unless I go within each separate forum.  How can I get back to receiving the site the way I used to…Continue

Parallel between pitch & color

Started this discussion. Last reply by Timothy Twiss Feb 18. 1 Reply

I heard an interesting discussion on NPR the other day.  There was a study that found that we tend to associate lower-pitch notes with darker colors and higher-pitch notes with lighter colors.  They…Continue

Minstrel Show, 1963

Started this discussion. Last reply by Chris Prieto Nov 30, 2016. 7 Replies

This was printed in the Waterloo…Continue

 

Al Smitley's Page

Latest Activity

Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's video
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Thorn Bush

"I have that LP but my turntable is inoperable.  Tried to download the YouTube audio but it appears to be protected.  It's good to have as a reference but I never did enjoy it much for its listening "pleasurability"."
Mar 17
Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's video
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Thorn Bush

"That might raise an interesting consideration, Wes.  Do you think Skinner's playing was similar to the era when most of the music was written (1780s-1830s ????) or do you think his playing was more similar to the "art music" that…"
Mar 16
Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's video
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Thorn Bush

"Let's try this next time we get together.  We don't have any strathspeys."
Mar 16
Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's video
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Thorn Bush

"Let's try this next time we get together.  We don't have any strathspeys."
Mar 16
Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's video
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Thorn Bush

"Nice.  Will have to see if I can find that.  As long as you posted a strathspey, I'll give you a head's up. Alastair Fraser and Natalie Haas will be at the Ark in A2 tomorrow evening if interested.  I think it's…"
Mar 15
Wes Merchant replied to Al Smitley's discussion EABG
"I haven't heard anything new from the Museum folks, I'll see if I can stir up anything."
Mar 14
Al Smitley replied to Al Smitley's discussion EABG
"Too late for 2017?"
Mar 13
Timothy Twiss replied to Al Smitley's discussion EABG
"It would not really require too much. Lots of playing, and the organization of a concert. I think there are enough individuals with the group that could do some presenting.  Perhaps share some of the organizing remotely, so one person is not…"
Mar 13
Al Smitley commented on Timothy Twiss's video
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Jim Along Josie c. 1840

"Haven't you taken that shirt off in the last three days?  I don't understand the phone experiment but the sound is good and the picture seems extra sharp and good color.  New house?"
Mar 12
Al Smitley posted a discussion

EABG

Some time ago, I think it was Wes who said that there might be interest at the Pry House/Barn about rejuvenating the EABG.  Are there any updates about that?See More
Mar 11
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's video
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The Spangle Hornpipe.

"I was surprised to find it on harp but when I did I, too, thought it sounded great.  And by the way,....does anyone know who this Alex Boatright is?!?  Multi-talented!  Harp, Cello, Anglo-Concertina, Button Accordion...."
Mar 9
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's video
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The Spangle Hornpipe.

"There are several examples of the "Wonder Hornpipe" on YouTube. I was surprised that the one I picked was done on harp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6RXRHwX4-g"
Mar 8
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's video
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The Spangle Hornpipe.

"Nice.  Always liked that one.  Seems to be in a tune-family which includes James Hill's "Wonder"."
Mar 8
Al Smitley left a comment for Timothy Twiss
"That's ironically amusing coming from Edgar Winter!"
Mar 8
Al Smitley left a comment for Timothy Twiss
"It's funny how this photographic method seems to make us look like we were playing music during our break at the flour mill!"
Mar 7
Al Smitley left a comment for Ken Perlman
"Ken, I'm confused.  I'm merely an occasional participant on this website and not one who has any 'pull' or authority.  Have you contacted John Masciale?  I think he is the one who maintains the Minstrel Banjo…"
Mar 6

Profile Information

How did you find out about Ning Minstrel Banjo?
Member/contributor, Tim Twiss
How long have you played banjo?
1968-1976 then minstrel banjo since 2007. Stopped when Tim Twiss wanted me to play fiddle and play banjo, now, only to figure out best keys for various songs/tunes.
What kind of banjo(s) do you own?
Vega long-neck and Hartel Sweeney model

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Comment Wall (19 comments)

At 7:09pm on July 11, 2011, Tim Twiss said…
Hi Al. Do you prefer Friday or Saturday...Aug 5 or 6?
At 10:55am on November 26, 2011, John Masciale said…

Al,  That's the kind of thing you can either add as a link in a thread (there's a way to upload files to a given thread, click on the paperclip icon), or something as generally useful as that we can put under resources.  Elaine has been going through period songsters and has a list of over 1800 songs at this point from the time period.  The list is growing.  I would put your spreadsheet under documetation.

 

I find that the most useful thing about the Weidlich book is his index of Minstrel Songs and which instructor they are in.  It would be great to have some resources like that here on the site.

At 12:27pm on November 26, 2011, Tim Twiss said…

And there it is...thanks John. I lost sight of the fact you could add files of different types in the Documentation spot. Perfect.

At 11:21am on November 28, 2011, John Masciale said…

Al,  Thanks for sending the tutorial index.  I now have it posted on our documentation page.

At 12:06pm on November 28, 2011, Tim Twiss said…

John...what format is that? New Excel? I could open Al's old one, but not this. Perhaps open office?

At 1:44pm on November 28, 2011, Tim Twiss said…

Never mind...answered my own question...open office for those who are behind.

What a great contribution Al...

At 8:09am on February 3, 2012, Ian Bell said…

Al,

I'm not a re-enactor (though I do have a suit of funny clothes in the closet) so I usually don't always have to limit myself to completely period-appropriate performances. When I am doing a historic perfromance I use the "period" instruments that I happen to play — wooden flute, Scottish smallpipes, fiddle and sing unaccompanied. I've never earned the trick of self-accompaniment with fiddle. It's all I can do to play in tune when I'm not singing. 

I mostly do 1812 songs from the Canadian point of view. My repertoire  comes from old manuscripts and early published sources and also includes songs of the time that survived to be collected as part of the folk tradition in Ontario. I've been accumulating this stuff since the early 80s. Canada was much less urban than the eastern US at that time so there weren't nearly as many printed broadsides produced up here. Your Library of Congress website has lots of American 1812 songs online. (I'm envious)

In a concert setting, I'll usually perform this stuff in a more "folksingerly" context, as music from the past that has survived into the present. I use non-period instruments like steel-string guitar, mandolin and concertina and arrange songs to suit my own tastes — which to most people's ears are probably pretty arcane.

At 8:10am on February 3, 2012, Ian Bell said…

Clarifying a bit of bad writing in previous comment - I meant Canada was less urban in 1812 - not the 1980s!

At 7:33pm on May 22, 2012, Jeff said…
I live in Midland
At 4:21pm on September 19, 2012, Dennis Bidwell said…

1971

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