Not interested in the actual banjo but isn't it cool that there is a handwritten book of music - someone's banjo playing repertoire - that has survived all these decades. I think the seller is optimistic (like a lot of people buying banjos at auction and then shifting them on!) https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/195488437190?hash=item2d8404d3c6:g:AuIAA...

Views: 218

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Optimistic indeed as this is not a rare model of banjo. The book is certainly of interest. The seller claims that A Smith, the composer indicated in the handwritten book was also the owner of the banjo. Where is the evidence of that?   The composed music seems to be in the style of an earlier era than the Windsor #7 banjo itself.  The titles also have a 19th century ring to them.  The printed sheet music is also of interest. Ellis and Dallas often appear in old banjo cases but there are other items here.  The seller claims that the handwritten repertoire has never been heard in 100 years. How does this seller know this? What is the basis of the claim. There is also a claim that the repertoire is of "songs".  It would take a very skilled vocalist to sing some of these banjo solos. I'll assume there are no composed words ("lyrics") to these and the seller is using the word "Songs" to mean "musical compositions". 

Yes, agreed - the claim that the banjo and handwritten book belonged to A Smith seems spurious without a photograph of him playing the exact banjo or other evidence - I think it is just based on the fact one of the pieces 'XL Breakdown' has 'By A Smith' written next to it (the other pieces are not attributed).  The Herbert Ellis book comes up fairly regularly on Ebay but the handwritten sheet music is a nice thing.  

Thunderstorm Breakdown, with second banjo, is found in this Turner's collection:

https://archive.org/details/turners60jigs/page/n26/mode/1up?view=th...

I have found some of the pieces from this Turner's collection were printed in other Turner's books.  It is possible that one could find all the others in this MS in published form.  XL also has "arranged by" and then some squiggly lines.

But, yes, it is neat to find these MS folios.  It is very personal.  That said, they often have no monetary value attached to them as we are the only ones interested in them 

Thanks Joel.  It's nice when you find a personal item in a banjo case or handwritten pencil marks on old sheet music. 

Tenuous link to topic (apologies) but here are some medieval doodles - now that is what you call a rare find: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/nov/28/womans-name-and-tin...

Well, it's obvious that Hodgkinson didn't go to high school in the USA in the mid 20th century  It was not unusual for a guy to write the name of their girlfriend on just about any markable surface. I even found examples of that on the heads (vellums) of old banjos I found at yard sales in the early 60s.

carrie horgan said:

Tenuous link to topic (apologies) but here are some medieval doodles - now that is what you call a rare find: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/nov/28/womans-name-and-tin...

I've been looking at the other tunes in his Turner collection. Some are called "jig" and some are called "breakdown". I can find no difference in their structure. What am I missing?

Joel Hooks said:

Thunderstorm Breakdown, with second banjo, is found in this Turner's collection:

https://archive.org/details/turners60jigs/page/n26/mode/1up?view=th...

I have found some of the pieces from this Turner's collection were printed in other Turner's books.  It is possible that one could find all the others in this MS in published form.  XL also has "arranged by" and then some squiggly lines.

But, yes, it is neat to find these MS folios.  It is very personal.  That said, they often have no monetary value attached to them as we are the only ones interested in them 

Carrie, thank you for posting the link to this banjo and the handwritten tune book. The book reminds me of 18th and 19th century village fiddler's tune books that pop up from time to time. Their unique value is not really in the tunes and their origins, but knowing which specific tunes an individual player liked enough to write down. It brings the personal right back into focus and I find that moving. That insight usually vanishes with the player. Who knows who the writer was? The book may not even be solely (or at all) linked to that banjo? The style does seem a little archaic for 1925. Maybe the writer was getting on in years in 1925 and some of that noted repertoire reflects his playing from a decade or two earlier? We'll never know. 

As a Brit musician I spent a long time puzzled as heck by the application of the term 'jig' to 2/4 tunes. Traditionally here a jig is 6/8 with a few variations (mainly in ITM) for slip jigs and slides. 

These straight jigs are very common in the 19th century English banjo context. My understanding is that there is an African-American heritage for this usage. Straight jigs do seem to have been introduced to the UK (or certainly popularised) through the American Minstrel repertoire from the c.1830's and 1840's. They were clearly a big hit and popular with English banjo players. In addition to the many examples in late 19th century printed sheet music, I have numerous examples of original straight jigs (and breakdowns) composed for 6 and 7-string banjo by English banjo players in the 1860's and 1870's. I think the distinction (if there is one) may be in the syncopation?

Jody Stecher said:

I've been looking at the other tunes in his Turner collection. Some are called "jig" and some are called "breakdown". I can find no difference in their structure. What am I missing?

Joel Hooks said:

Thunderstorm Breakdown, with second banjo, is found in this Turner's collection:

https://archive.org/details/turners60jigs/page/n26/mode/1up?view=th...

I have found some of the pieces from this Turner's collection were printed in other Turner's books.  It is possible that one could find all the others in this MS in published form.  XL also has "arranged by" and then some squiggly lines.

But, yes, it is neat to find these MS folios.  It is very personal.  That said, they often have no monetary value attached to them as we are the only ones interested in them 

Yes, 19th century tune books on both sides of the Atlantic contained tunes in 2/4 or 4/4 labeled "jig".  "Double Jigs" in 6/8   time in the same collections were labeled as Irish or sometimes Scottish. What I am trying to understand is what distinguishes these "straight jigs" from "breakdowns".  I'm looking for structural signatures and am finding nothing in one category that the other lacks. Could it be the speed at which they were played?  It does not seem to be a matter of dotted rhythm vs straight time.  This is puzzling. 

Mike Bostock said:

As a Brit musician I spent a long time puzzled as heck by the application of the term 'jig' to 2/4 tunes. Traditionally here a jig is 6/8 with a few variations (mainly in ITM) for slip jigs and slides. 

These straight jigs are very common in the 19th century English banjo context. My understanding is that there is an African-American heritage for this usage. Straight jigs do seem to have been introduced to the UK (or certainly popularised) through the American Minstrel repertoire from the c.1830's and 1840's. They were clearly a big hit and popular with English banjo players. In addition to the many examples in late 19th century printed sheet music, I have numerous examples of original straight jigs composed for 6 and 7-string banjo by English banjo players in the 1860's and 1870's.

Jody Stecher said:

I've been looking at the other tunes in his Turner collection. Some are called "jig" and some are called "breakdown". I can find no difference in their structure. What am I missing?

Joel Hooks said:

Thunderstorm Breakdown, with second banjo, is found in this Turner's collection:

https://archive.org/details/turners60jigs/page/n26/mode/1up?view=th...

I have found some of the pieces from this Turner's collection were printed in other Turner's books.  It is possible that one could find all the others in this MS in published form.  XL also has "arranged by" and then some squiggly lines.

But, yes, it is neat to find these MS folios.  It is very personal.  That said, they often have no monetary value attached to them as we are the only ones interested in them 

I believe that none of the post revival Irish Session rules were in use before they were established... if that is the standard with which you are referring to assign classifications to these tunes.

Which brings up a question I have, when were those standards established?  In all the banjo books I have studied I've never seen any real order to the "types" of tunes.  Not once do I recall seeing something called a "slip-jig".  But there are "stop jigs", which are usually tricky to play and sometimes make me giggle as I try to keep time. 

Was Francis O'Neill the start of the strict categorization?

Most of the time "hornpipes" and "reels" tend to follow form, but "jigs" and "breakdowns" have no set pattern or meter.  They can be in 2/4 or 6/8 or any time really.  Even the ones titled (or subtitled) "Irish Jig" could be 2/4 or 6/8-- it did not seem to matter.

I'm asking because I know little about the classification of Session tunes. 

 

Jody Stecher said:

I've been looking at the other tunes in his Turner collection. Some are called "jig" and some are called "breakdown". I can find no difference in their structure. What am I missing?

Joel Hooks said:

Thunderstorm Breakdown, with second banjo, is found in this Turner's collection:

https://archive.org/details/turners60jigs/page/n26/mode/1up?view=th...

I have found some of the pieces from this Turner's collection were printed in other Turner's books.  It is possible that one could find all the others in this MS in published form.  XL also has "arranged by" and then some squiggly lines.

But, yes, it is neat to find these MS folios.  It is very personal.  That said, they often have no monetary value attached to them as we are the only ones interested in them 

Jigs have an absolutely consistent meaning and structure in the traditional or vernacular music of England (and Scotland and Ireland). 6/8 time...almost invariably. As far as I can recall, the only example of the term jig applied to a traditional English vernaular tune that is not in 6/8 that I know is one that is local to me here in Somerset - Radstock Jig (aka James Higgins' Jig). We can see that consistent 6/8 pattern in printed collections going back to Playford in the 17th century and beyond. Also in the many examples of personal tune books of village fiddlers. Two excellent national collections that enable anyone to access the evidence of our musical heritage are the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and the Full English Project. These are pretty much go-to first stop resources for English traditional musicians:

https://www.vwml.org

https://www.vwml.org/projects/vwml-the-full-english

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2023   Created by thereallyniceman.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service