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...

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OK, I understand the first sentence. But what do you mean by a focus on genre? Certainly the participating dancers in earlier times knew whether they were dancing a waltz or a jig. So do you mean "folk music" vs "highbrow music? Pop vs trad?  What genres do you mean?

Mike Bostock said:

Jody, I was referring to the social and cultural change in 19th century Victorian England involving music's increasing relationship with a non-participating, paying audience. Expectation and predictability does not disappear, but there is a focus shift toward a consideration of genre. I guess that can be described as the 'what' rather than the 'how' when compared to a culture in which people directly participate. We need to be very careful though, as despite the plentiful evidence for that social and cultural change, over-simplification and opinion can obscure very real and significant contradictions and contrasting exceptions within that broad picture.

Jody Stecher said:

I follow you and agree completely up to the last two sentences. I don't disagree with them, I just don't know what you mean! 

Mike Bostock said:

There's an aspect to' blurriness' that is itself indicative of context and purpose. I'm going to be very careful not to overstate this, but when musicians are an adjunct to vernacular participation i.e. dancing, there is expectation. Expectation is related to what is definable and predictable. The 19th century in England was a long divorce of musicians from being an adjunct to vernacular participation. Musicians increasingly became products of vernacular consumption. People who are consuming are less concerned with expectation and clear purposeful distinction.

On the other hand, a paying audience is often not actually passive and participates in ways that are felt but not always directly seen. Many musical performers describe an energy exchange or energy loop with the audience.  The audience may not be dancing or singing or playing an instrument but they are often participating in other ways. This is built-in to performance of Indian raga music with a well-attuned audience.  It is a given that what the musician(s) sings or plays is dependent on how the audience receives each phrase and how the audience reflects it back.  In Arabic maqam music it is a given that an elevated state of ecstasy will occur when there is a perfect union of musician and listener. There are no names for it but it occurs in England as well.  A banjo player will not always have to play AT the audience. The music and musician is not always a commodity when and where tickets are sold. But yes, it is different than earlier times when the music was directly functional in a different way.

Mike Bostock said:

Jody, I was referring to the social and cultural change in 19th century Victorian England involving music's increasing relationship with a non-participating, paying audience.

Thanks Joel.    

Joel Hooks said:

A "patrol" is a descriptive march (most of the time).  It is played ppp to fff and back to ppp which is supposed to simulate an approaching group marching, the march past, then marching away. 

They don't always follow this form but generally when "patrol" is in the title this is what you can expect. 



carrie horgan said:

Interesting discussion.  I think Mike may be right about the blurriness between jigs, breakdowns and galops.  May be a breakdown just means 'a fast-paced banjo tune'.  I've never really understood what a 'Patrol' is either!

When social change introduces an audience culture and advertisements offer an expanding what's-on of nightly performances, people naturally shift their expectation to the 'who' or 'what'. That is a significant change from a more intimate culture of direct participation where the participants expectation of the musician(s) are tacit and mutually understood. Tacit and mutually understood requires very clear distinctions to function i.e. for want of a better word - tradition. Whereas that requirement and interaction are diminished in an emerging audience culture. Not entirely absent, and the Victorian period where that change occurred contained a diversity of experience. Culture and social patterns don't evaporate overnight, but a very 'new' culture was evolving around enforced changed circumstance. We can see from our perspective how in the early 20th century there were attempts to 'preserve' or 'reconnect' with vernacular patterns. That in itself, if nothing else, informs us of a contemporary sense that common behaviour had changed.

Jody Stecher said:

OK, I understand the first sentence. But what do you mean by a focus on genre? Certainly the participating dancers in earlier times knew whether they were dancing a waltz or a jig. So do you mean "folk music" vs "highbrow music? Pop vs trad?  What genres do you mean?

Mike Bostock said:

Jody, I was referring to the social and cultural change in 19th century Victorian England involving music's increasing relationship with a non-participating, paying audience. Expectation and predictability does not disappear, but there is a focus shift toward a consideration of genre. I guess that can be described as the 'what' rather than the 'how' when compared to a culture in which people directly participate. We need to be very careful though, as despite the plentiful evidence for that social and cultural change, over-simplification and opinion can obscure very real and significant contradictions and contrasting exceptions within that broad picture.

Jody Stecher said:

I follow you and agree completely up to the last two sentences. I don't disagree with them, I just don't know what you mean! 

Mike Bostock said:

There's an aspect to' blurriness' that is itself indicative of context and purpose. I'm going to be very careful not to overstate this, but when musicians are an adjunct to vernacular participation i.e. dancing, there is expectation. Expectation is related to what is definable and predictable. The 19th century in England was a long divorce of musicians from being an adjunct to vernacular participation. Musicians increasingly became products of vernacular consumption. People who are consuming are less concerned with expectation and clear purposeful distinction.

We should also bear in mind that the advent of an audience culture didn't occur in the sudden sulphurous flash of a Victorian stage magician's smoke. It took place to a large extent in a piecemeal fashion shaped and influenced by factors that were both random and designed. The Victorian music hall was not a sudden 'invention', it evolved from the ad hoc nationwide presence of cellar bars and tavern music venues. These small scale venues were themselves 'new' and reflected - and bred - changed behaviours. London had many such small venues, as did other English towns and cities. The rudimentary form of 'exposure' this created was a catalyst for opportunity that did not previously exist. When we see the word 'catalyst' we can be sure that 'change' follows hot on it's heels.

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