Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Batchelder's "Imitation of the Banjo for piano"

This piece from the early 1850s contains versions of Brigg's Power of Music and Brigg's Favorite Jig. These two sections are scored as though written (without transposing) for a banjo tuned f-Bb-F-A-C (though the score doesn't reach the bass string). It seems to be a transcription of music as played on a banjo rather than a pianist's fancy, and is a fairly easy piece in stroke style. Here is a link to the Library of Congress' image:
On the piano it is scored for playing cross-handed, with the left hand doing nothing but tapping an F note (above middle C) on the treble clef - obviously corresponding to the thumb string - while the right hand plays all the other notes on the base clef. As played on a banjo tuned f-Bb-F-A-C the left hand never goes above the third fret.
The score was dedicated to Briggs and appears to have been published before the Brigg's banjo instruction book. I am curious about a couple of things:
1) Any thoughts about this piece as a transcript of early banjo music?
2) What is the earliest published (or unpublished) score that can be considered a transcription of music as played on banjo?

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Thank you for posting this OK-4. I had not seen the music for this one before. I'm looking forward to trying it out!

Here are a couple more by Mr. Batchelder.


If you flip to page 212, I looks like the cited work is also contained.

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 (originally) "Briggs' Favorite Jig". (That part is very similar to The Power of Music in Rice's 1858 book.)

I have tabbed the whole piece out (except the introduction) and set it in standard notation, and may get around to posting it some day.

Please do, that would be very interesting to see.

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 let me know of any errors.)


The attached MP3 file makes an effort at playing everything in the TAB (with some flaws – sorry folks). "Brigg's Favorite Jig" begins at 2:15 and the Coda starts at 2:50.


Very nicely played! Thanks for the transcription as well.

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