I've created another self-published book of 89 tunes (no songs in this one) with titles reflecting persons, topics, or events in American history, 1820-1861. The tunes are not meant specifically for…Continue
"I like it when we apply the techniques from the tutorials and then use other period sources to expand the repertoire! No doubt banjoists of the mid-19th C applied the banjo to other popular music of the day such as brass band, fife &drum,…"
"Joel, I've played in a lot of different keys as backup, but assumed that if I wanted to do an instrumental break or melodic bridge, it might help to re-tune the 5th string and use a capo devise. I will take a look at Converse,…"
"Sorry I didn't well articulate what I meant. When I typed "easily changed" I meant with regard to the key you want to play in. I thought that perhaps there was some device you came up with to significantly shorten the 5th…"
"Please explain more. Is there something about the 5th string that allows it to be easily changed and, with the use of some capo device gives the option of playing in different keys. Reminded me of a backgammon board, at first sight."
"Sorry you couldn't find it, Rob. A lot of people can't get CSPAN3. I'm lucky on this issue as it comes with my basic cable. Every Friday, I look for programming that airs on the weekend as it's all historical…"
"I just watched this show that I DVRed when it was on. Though it focuses more on the 20th than 19th C, it does discuss the 19th C and I thought it was very interesting with two historians that know their subject. I also see that it airs…"
Al, That's the kind of thing you can either add as a link in a thread (there's a way to upload files to a given thread, click on the paperclip icon), or something as generally useful as that we can put under resources. Elaine has been going through period songsters and has a list of over 1800 songs at this point from the time period. The list is growing. I would put your spreadsheet under documetation.
I find that the most useful thing about the Weidlich book is his index of Minstrel Songs and which instructor they are in. It would be great to have some resources like that here on the site.
I'm not a re-enactor (though I do have a suit of funny clothes in the closet) so I usually don't always have to limit myself to completely period-appropriate performances. When I am doing a historic perfromance I use the "period" instruments that I happen to play — wooden flute, Scottish smallpipes, fiddle and sing unaccompanied. I've never earned the trick of self-accompaniment with fiddle. It's all I can do to play in tune when I'm not singing.
I mostly do 1812 songs from the Canadian point of view. My repertoire comes from old manuscripts and early published sources and also includes songs of the time that survived to be collected as part of the folk tradition in Ontario. I've been accumulating this stuff since the early 80s. Canada was much less urban than the eastern US at that time so there weren't nearly as many printed broadsides produced up here. Your Library of Congress website has lots of American 1812 songs online. (I'm envious)
In a concert setting, I'll usually perform this stuff in a more "folksingerly" context, as music from the past that has survived into the present. I use non-period instruments like steel-string guitar, mandolin and concertina and arrange songs to suit my own tastes — which to most people's ears are probably pretty arcane.