Bourre from third cello suite by J.S. Bach

Baroque banjo solo

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Comment by thereallyniceman on February 8, 2018 at 18:27

That is really nice piece Dave,

I have not until recently enjoyed "Classical" on Classic banjo but I am being converted.

Take a look at the F. C. Musselbrook arrangements in the MUSIC LIBRARY as there are some lovely Classical pieces that he has arranged for banjo... I am even tempted to try a few myself!

Comment by Dave Raphaelson on February 9, 2018 at 11:45

Ian thank you very much. If you do give it a try you won't regret it.Ive seen a few things by Bernard Sheaff that seem to have been pointed in that direction way back.The transatlantic history of the banjo is really fascinating .I read somewhere hat Ossman,Van Epps, and others fled the states because jazz had reared its head and steel strings  and plectrum took over.I really love and admire Classic Banjo and feel it could offer a lot to many kinds of players ,and musical idioms.Especially thanks to you and the others on the site for keeping the flame alive. 

Comment by Steve Harrison on February 9, 2018 at 13:16

Hi Dave, your comments regarding classic banjo have hit the mark and follows my line of thinking. I've arranged around 430 tune for classic banjo, much of which is music that you would not necessarily expect to be played on the banjo. All my scores, plus midis are in the library if you fancy browsing through them. This morning I've been playing the Morris Dance written by Edward German in 1908 for Shakespeare's Henry VIII, it works very well on banjo and isn't too hard on the fingers...Steve.

Comment by Joel Hooks on February 9, 2018 at 14:31

Van Eps did not leave the US until April 4, 1954 when he traveled to England with his wife.  Ossman died from a heart attach after a show in Minnesota in 1923.  I have not read that anyone fled the US because of jazz but I would like to hear more about it.  

The wire string/plectrum banjo story was pretty gradual.  Reading Cadenzas and Crescendo Magazines during the development of pick playing is quite interesting.  For several years pick players were split 50/50 about using gut or wire.  Wire seemed to really take hold during WW1 as the countries that made gut strings set to killing one another.  War also causes a huge demand for sutures, those were made just like gut strings.

During that time there was a shortage of strings even though Armour (the meat company) was making them in the US.

The tenor came from mandolin players-- not 5 string banjo players.

Wire strings were cheaper and were not shredded by plectrums so they won out for that style of playing.  "Fingerstyle" banjoists continued to use (as manufacturers continued to ship good banjos with) gut or silk strings up until the nostalgic retro "hillbilly" music became popular.

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