Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Bob Carlin in his book The Birth of the Banjo states that Sam Sweeny played among other songs "Cottage by the Sea". I've included a transcription. How would you play this? It seems inevitable that you have to deal with the chords, but what approach would you use?

If you look at the piano score

It seems like a combination of arpeggios and block chords. I have settled on playing more of a alberti bass and arpeggio style for this song.

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Are you going to accompany yourself singing, or create a solo arrangement?

Your suggested interpretation of this tune reminds me of the accompaniment style found in Briggs. That would work great!

Alternately, looking at the LOC link you provided, the texture of the piano arrangement during the vocal part, to me, appears to be quite reminiscent of the accompaniments in the Buckley 1860 book and highly applicable to a guitar fingerstyle applied to the banjo. I might interpret it by shaping the instrumental parts of the right hand similar to those found in Briggs 1855 and the Sep. Winner 1864 banjo book and then either follow Briggs' outline (with some fingerstyle elements a la the instructions found with Annie Lawrie on page 31[?]) or defer to more of a fingerstyle eluded to in the Buckley 1860 book.

Neat tune!

I'm going to sing this, or maybe sing it in a group. It helps that Elaine plays whistle, and I have another friend who is a fiddler. I don't think in this case that it matters if I carry the melody. It's a great tune for a tenor, if only I were one...

Greg, Thanks for your input, I'm going to have to open both Briggs and Buckey and take a look.

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