Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Schools for the Banjo: A Primary Source Study of Nineteenth-Century Banjo Manuals

During the latter half of the nineteenth century, banjo players and teachers strove to bring their instrument to a wider audience. Prior to, the banjo had been played primarily by African Americans and by the minstrels who parodied them. This began to change as a number of players sought to make the banjo a more respectable instrument by performing European art music and by presenting it to members of the white upper class, particularly to women, as an instrument of study. This article will examine a number of banjo manuals published between the middle of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. These manuals provide insight into the changing musical and cultural position of the American banjo throughout the later nineteenth century via their increasing emphasis on a guitar-like playing style, the music they provide the learner, and their increasingly elevated portrayal of the...

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