Seems like I've seen paintings or illustrations of pre-Sweeny banjos, especially similar to the 4-stringer Mark Weems often plays. Doing a Google search, however, I can't seem to find any. Perhaps…Continue
Ooops! I didn't intend all the members to be sidelined by my discussion with Mark Weems about pre-Sweeney banjos. I thought I was sending a person-to-person inquiry. Can someone remind me how to…Continue
I have been recruited to present a "History of the Banjo" presentation for a local historical society. What credible sources might be suggested for me to put it together. I would want to begin with…Continue
"Not sure of the edge or space you are dealing with. I had torn a skin on one banjo, wetted it and used artificial sinew to stitch up the tear. Played it for a long while before I finally replaced the head. Just a thought."
"You could super glue a skin patch over it, but it obviously won't look very nice. And because it's a tacked on head, the tension you lost in that area of the head when it tore can't be restored. Really the only way to repair is to…"
Seems like I've seen paintings or illustrations of pre-Sweeny banjos, especially similar to the 4-stringer Mark Weems often plays. Doing a Google search, however, I can't seem to find any. Perhaps I've seen them on the cover of sheet music. Any help?See More
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.
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.