Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

From Briggs' Banjo Instructor (1855)

Views: 146

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Comment by Chris Prieto on August 6, 2015 at 12:43am

so very lovely.

Comment by Al Smitley on August 6, 2015 at 6:46am

I don't ever recall hearing that before.  How did such a great melody escape general repertoire and play!?!

Comment by John Masciale on August 6, 2015 at 9:26am

Beautifully interpreted.

Comment by Strumelia on August 6, 2015 at 3:56pm

I believe almost any tune can sound either dull and uninteresting or lovely and lyrical ...depending a great deal on the feeling conveyed by the player/singer.   It would not be hard at all to 'read the dots on the page' and run through this tune in a technical manner devoid of dynamics and interest...might as well be a midi file.  Some people play that way by default.  IMHO what makes this song special  here is Mark's beautiful delivery- so full of personal passion and sweet sadness.  It's a good reminder to consider being expressive when playing a tune.

Comment by Al Smitley on August 6, 2015 at 4:20pm

Yes, I agree, Strum.  On several occasions, I've taken notice of songs/tunes when Mark posts them that might not have hit me, otherwise.  Sanford's Jig is one I recall.  This one, I think, is a combination of interpretation and a melody that's pleasant and simple.  That's why, to me, it is surprising that it had not made it's way into the common repertoire of our genre.

Comment by Strumelia on August 6, 2015 at 4:42pm

Yes indeed, Al.  Another factor in loss of expressiveness is that many of us 'early banjo buffs' don't actually want to sing much.  We just want to be technically adept in playing.  In the old days the more varied skills you had in making music, the better the entertainment.  Today we practice at home mostly from books, then travel long distances to sit in big 'jam' circles and play in unison, racing through one tune after another very quickly.  (this true of many music genres these days)  So today we tend to take the old songs like Jonny Boker or Dan Tucker etc and just play them as fast instrumentals.  No time for 'words' or emoting- lol.   Can sound like a speed typing class.  Again, expression gets left behind in the quest for technical skill in making notes in rapid succession.  If people sang more, they'd kinda be forced to slow down and add expression.

Comment by Leonidas (Lee) Jones on August 6, 2015 at 10:48pm
I had missed this one. Thank you so much for bringing it here. Beautifully played and sung with so much feeling.
Comment by Leonidas (Lee) Jones on August 6, 2015 at 10:54pm
Interesting Lisa. I fall prey to that, since I am so driven to learn to play the instrument. Yet, I was a trained singer well before I even picked up a banjo. All in good time, I guess.

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