Hi all,

back at practicing classic banjo since a few weeks, I notice my approach is a bit haphazardly, one tune here and one tune there, without any clear goal. To change that I thought it might be a good idea to reproduce a banjo concert/recital from around 1900. I have spent the last two hours trying to find a concert program with titles from that period but without luck.

Does anyone happen to have one, or more, to scan and post here? Or at least list the titles. Or point me in the right direction....

I would be most greatfull! Thanks!

Views: 159

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The best way is to read period magazines. For American publications try the Crescendo (available from the university of Rochester online) or the Cadenza (New York Public Library digital collections).

You likely won’t find a set list. Most of the concerts are variety shows, featuring one or a few pieces played by several different acts. In a typical program you might have a singer, a reading, a harp solo, a banjo solo, a banjo duet, a banjo club piece, and other instrument solos like guitar, mandolin or violin.

You could reach for the sky and play one of Alfred Farland’s set lists. He published several programs that he would play on promotional materials.

Hi Joel,

thanks for your reply.

Yeah, I was afraid it wouldn't be that easy... I did start looking in to some Magazines and found pretty quick mentionings of banjo solos being played in different concerts but that's not really what I'm looking for in this case. I was hoping for a complete set list from the time. Somehow I have a picture in my mind that I've seen something like that somewhere sometime ago... but I could be wrong (I often am... :-) )

You mention Alfred Farland and play in the same sentence, as it would actually be possible to do that... :-) Just out of curiousity, where would I find his setlists? And would it be possible to find the music he was playing?

Never mind. I wont go that way. Sure, I like an occasional tremolo but not all the time! (like I would be able to play the rest "non-tremolo" stuff...lol)

Looking at some of his music, some of it doesn't look humanly possible. How does one play tremolo on two different strings not being next to each other??

If a fast moving melody was played on the string in between it could work ....maybe... if the tremolo notes did not change quickly.  OR the notes are actually on adjacent lower strings fingered on upper frets.   OR it's a printer's error. OR Farland put something impossible in the music  just to see if anyone was paying attention. Or he was mad.   After all, he was the man who made a fuss about the dreadful effect on banjo tone by the presence of metal in any part of the banjo pot and then he goes and endorses the replacement of a natural vellum with a metal head!   

Pär Engstrand said:

Never mind. I wont go that way. Sure, I like an occasional tremolo but not all the time! (like I would be able to play the rest "non-tremolo" stuff...lol)

Looking at some of his music, some of it doesn't look humanly possible. How does one play tremolo on two different strings not being next to each other??

All of the many kinds of tremolo are explained in Hunter's book, including, I think, tremolo on non adjacent strings.

Jody Stecher said:

If a fast moving melody was played on the string in between it could work ....maybe... if the tremolo notes did not change quickly.  OR the notes are actually on adjacent lower strings fingered on upper frets.   OR it's a printer's error. OR Farland put something impossible in the music  just to see if anyone was paying attention. Or he was mad.   After all, he was the man who made a fuss about the dreadful effect on banjo tone by the presence of metal in any part of the banjo pot and then he goes and endorses the replacement of a natural vellum with a metal head!   

Pär Engstrand said:

Never mind. I wont go that way. Sure, I like an occasional tremolo but not all the time! (like I would be able to play the rest "non-tremolo" stuff...lol)

Looking at some of his music, some of it doesn't look humanly possible. How does one play tremolo on two different strings not being next to each other??

Thanks a bunch, Richard.
I tried tremolo on non adjacent strings for a minute just now. Doesn't seem that impossible actually. I just put the right distance between index and middle finger and went for it. How it's supposed to be done, I have no idea....

Hi Par,

In a recent post of mine, the subject of historical recreation was touched upon, with comments from Jody and Joel. My idea appears to be similar to yours, in that only the music of a certain period in time is played. In my case, I have set out to learn the banjo as I would have done in the 1880s/90s. So, with a rather simplistic 'Historically Informed Performance' approach, I have a correctly strung zither banjo from the period and the original tutor books by Ellis. My reasoning is that it was as likely then, as now, I would have taught myself to play and therefore, following the instructions in the books today, will result in the same interpretation of the music of that period.

Having watched your excellent videos, it is obvious that you are far beyond the beginners pieces, but it occurs to me that, as an exercise in historical performance, the work of Tim Twiss might inspire you to work through the various individual publications, in order to explore a specific slice of banjo development.

Kind regards, Ian.

Hi Ian,

Thanks for your input. Yes, I had the same idea, that it somehow would get me "deeper in the tradition", so to say. I'm not sure it would work though, primarily because we live in a different time and therefore have very different experiences and ideas compared to what they had almost 130 years ago. And the life situation nowdays is very different from back then. It's an very interesting experiment though so please go ahead! :-)

I also play a bit of early banjo actually, Briggs, Rice etc. Although thinking of it now, I do approach the styles differently. Maybe I shouldn't...hm...

Pick a dozen or so pieces that were published in or before the year you are portraying.

There is your program.

Careful on the Zither Banjo if you are focusing on the 1880s.

Also consider that many did not start using raised frets until the late 1880s. 

And no three octave necks until the mid 1890s

Joel, 

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and understanding of this 'HIP' approach to playing the banjo. 

Kind regards, Ian.

So I found a program! By chance, actually. I randomly opend a "Banjo World" and there it was...

Posted in the "Banjo World" April-September 1922. Posted as upcomming concert performed by Jan Wien and would take place in Glasgow. In the first half he would play the following pieces by Cammeyer:

"A Sonnet"
"The Yeomans Call"
"Valse des Fleurs"
"The Romp" (from "two Cornish Dances")
"Caprice Accidental"
"Hurry, Little Children, Christmas Morn"
"A Dancer's Dream"
"Valse Parisienne"
"Bolero"
"Galopade"
"Humoresque"
"Valse Chantante"

In the second half he would play his own arrangments of popular piano pieces and such. No listing of those pieces. I will have to look in a later number of the Banjo World to see if there is any mentioning of that concert.

So I guess I just have to print and practise... :-)

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2020   Created by thereallyniceman.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service