Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I've played traditional tunes for many years. Lately I've been interested in composing in the style of Old Time and Celtic music. Does anyone do that and does it sneak into your reenactment work or at the period dances? I'm completely thrilled with the historical tunes, but have gotten a lot of joy out of composing in the styles that I love as well.

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Comment by Bell Banjos on November 12, 2013 at 9:18pm

Hi Dave. I like to create tunes in an old style, particularly minstrel banjo and Irish fiddle. I always try to remember what Paddy Maloney said of traditional music, that it was and is created ON the instrument. That guides me. If I can recall a new tune the next day by memory then I figure it's worth saving and I write it down. The hard part is giving them titles.

Comment by David Spalding Sharp on November 13, 2013 at 12:36pm

My feeling as well. I like to think of it all as a living tradition. I compose while playing on the istrument as well.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 14, 2013 at 10:07am

I have done it. It turns into quite the exercise to stay within the parameters and style. I've done both instrumental ( easier ) and vocal. It was part of an "Artist in Residency" program I did in the Upper Peninsula wilderness.  

Comment by David Spalding Sharp on November 14, 2013 at 12:20pm

The vocal styles of traditional music seem to require more listening to the genre than the instrumental music. I find that if I really get tuned in on a project I start to speak the language in a fashion. Having been a commercial artist at one time I find I work better with money and a deadline as well.


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