"That is over my head, CW.
More on playing styles: I mentioned Pete Seeger saying that most folks musicians that he encountered only knew maybe three songs using simple accompaniment. But he also stressed that many of these same people played with…"
I know of a couple of quite prominent people in the classic banjo world who are disdainful for "old time" banjo music. That is just two, but I don't get out much: I expect there are others. But on the other hand, lots…"
"Paul Ely Smith,
I am curious: other than Converse, is there another source describing the technique of ante-bellum black banjo players?
Pending that, I can't imagine any reason to doubt that Converse saw what he claimed he saw: the black…"
"I read Converse as saying that two finger up-picking was the most common method among the black players that he encountered. Is it possible that downstroke was not particularly popular, but happened to be the method that Joel Walker Sweeney picked…"
""Nice" was an unnecessary qualification... I should have said: nothing wrong with playing ANY tune on a banjo, and serious rebukes should only come from paying customers or a captive audience.
Clawhammer in the 1850s? Why not? The…"
"So what is wrong with playing ANY nice tune on the banjo? I don't get the criticism here.
Changing the topic slightly: Check out Batchelder's "Imitation of the Banjo for Piano" (1854). Aside from the introduction, it is a…"
"Here are two versions of TAB for the Batchelder score: 1) TAB only, and 2) Standard C notation with TAB. The TAB-only version omits most of the notation for dynamics.
(I tried to get the original score note for note - please…"
"Thank you, Mr. Merchant. Yes, that 1863 version looks to be the same with a couple of changes in title: The whole piece is now called "The Banjo", and the next-to-last section is now called "The Power of Music" instead of…"
"Hello John Salicco,
I found that Farris ad through an internet search. It is in the 1895 Trinity Ivy, the yearbook of Trinity College (Hartford CT). It is available online in Trinity College's digital repository. I am having trouble…"
"I think we can agree there is no evidence that steel strings were considered normal or desirable for banjos in the 19th century. But inelegant practice can still exist, and the wire banjo strings sold in bulk were landing somewhere. So, that is…"
"Joel Hooks comments: "The exceptions don't make it common. Let's see some endorsements of wire strings by top players pre WW1. The same players that people took up the banjo because of."
But best practice does not…"