Here is an interesting artifact. 

Mackney's Banjo Tutor is claimed to be the first British published tutor from sometime around 1863.

It was republished at differed times and I present to the curious banjo world an edition from about 1890 (according to Eli Kaufman and Bob Winans).  This edition comes courtesy of Drew Frech.

This J. Williams edition is basically the same as the original (as I understand it), with the addition of two titles at the end in C.  With exception of those two added titles, the book is written in A notation but also includes instruction for G or "Briggs" pitch.

Most of the book was copied directly from early American tutors and there is not really anything original about it. To me it is interesting as an artifact of early British banjo playing.

I am obsessed with the relationship between A and C notations and the timeline of both systems.  As far as I have been able to find, the first instruction book published in C notation was "J. E. Brewster's Banjoist".  Brewster's book is one of the few British books that included the year published. I would be happy to be corrected if there was an earlier C notation instruction book published. 

The timeline of pitch change lines up perfectly with the Brewster's book.  S. S. Stewart wrote very detailed accounts of his dealings with Brewster and there is no reason to question the honesty and accuracy of SSS' claims.  I have no doubt that Brewster was a factor in why SSS did not reach out to connect with more British composers and publishers. Brewster also set the stage for decades of plagiarized music and copied/duplicated American designs.  

It is interesting to find a British tutor in A notation, teaching stroke style, published as late as 1890.

Anyway, enough ramblings...

https://archive.org/details/mackneys-banjo-tutor-e.-w.-mackney/mode...

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Thanks alot, Joel. Really interesting!

So the Brewster book was published 1885, or? And was it also the first banjo book ever to be published in c notation? Because there's no explanation what so ever to why he would he would publish a book in a completely new notation. Was there discussions before in Britain on the subject?

When was the first piece/book in c notation published in America?

You should join the ABF, I wrote an article in our newsletter that clears all of this up.

Pär Engstrand said:

Thanks alot, Joel. Really interesting!

So the Brewster book was published 1885, or? And was it also the first banjo book ever to be published in c notation? Because there's no explanation what so ever to why he would he would publish a book in a completely new notation. Was there discussions before in Britain on the subject?

When was the first piece/book in c notation published in America?

Ha! I really should, shouldn't I? :-)

I would say "early 1890s"....but probably close enough. Sousa composed "The Washington Post March" in 1889, introduced at a ceremony in June of that year. It was an instant hit but I imagine it would take a little while for it to filter down into a banjo tutor. Sousa toured extensively abroad and also made recordings for Columbia and Berliner.

My Mackay copy has two other Sousa marches (Liberty Bell from 1893 and Manhattan Beach from 1893). It is in "landscape" format but otherwise the same as the copy you've posted.

I think I have another alternate copy buried in the stacks here...IIRC, I got it from someone in Oz years ago.

As you say, these don't have much in them to really shout about.

edit: I found a copy of the Macknay "50 Popular Songs for the Banjo" and it is totally A-notation. 

Here is your other Mackney tutor Marc...

https://archive.org/details/MackneyTutorCopy/mode/2up

It is in C.

The British did us no favors by not dating anything.  It is very annoying.   I think Bob and Eli were using other sources to try and date these things.

I know that as I go through the BMGs and see a piece announced "ready for sale" I will add the date and year to my digital file of it.  I mean, how hard would it have been to set four more digits when they printed all this stuff?

Looking at the contents of the J. Williams edition, a lot of the titles seem to have been copied from Buckley's Guide For Banjo (1868). The other Mackney tutor (Herman Darewski Music Publishing) has a totally different selection of tunes.



Edward Bettega said:

Looking at the contents of the J. Williams edition, a lot of the titles seem to have been copied from Buckley's Guide For Banjo (1868). The other Mackney tutor (Herman Darewski Music Publishing) has a totally different selection of tunes.

I think you have your Buckley's mixed up.  Mackney's is pulled right out of "Buckley's New Banjo Method" of 1860.

The other Mackney is from the 1890s.

Edward Bettega said:

Looking at the contents of the J. Williams edition, a lot of the titles seem to have been copied from Buckley's Guide For Banjo (1868). The other Mackney tutor (Herman Darewski Music Publishing) has a totally different selection of tunes.

Yes I did. There a few tunes that seem to be unique to Mackney - 

Choose To Be A Daisy
Darkies' Christmas Day
Di, Di, Di!
Peter Gray
Sally Come Up
The Washington Post March

Washington Post, as stated, was added for this 1890s edition.

I'd Choose To Be a Daisy is found on page 54 of Buckley's. 

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