Around one year ago I was approached and asked to give a talk/demonstration with my banjo to a local history group, while making preparations it occurred to me to put together a more structured lecture/discussion with a theme that would show the banjo in a more interesting and pleasing light.

With this idea in mind I decided to focus on a time  when the banjo was most prominent, at the British seaside ! Then a musician friend told me he had just returned from a most interesting gig at one of our esteemed colleges giving a talk to the music students on sea shanties from the south west of England I asked if there would be any interest in my own modest presentation and, how should I reach any interested parties, a short video outlining what I was offering seemed the right idea and I at once set about producing the following 4 minutes of shameless self promotion . Please click on the link and give me any constructive feedback you may have, I am able to edit and make changes to the film and, feel sure that at least some may be needed. My hope is that anybody viewing this promo will at least have their interest piqued and, I may gain some wider exposure for my scheme. 

Thanks, 

https://youtu.be/yL5VImhBJVY

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I like it. It's a good subject, I find.

In the video, the a bit longer text pass by a bit to quick. At least for me. That then lead to me feeling a bit stressed everytime a text showed up, thinking I wouldn't finish reading it before it goes away. But maybe I'm just a slow reader.

English is my first language and I also had a hard time keeping up with the text. Mostly I like the video.  There are a couple of oddities. It cannot be so that every household had a banjo. Intentional hyperole? I can't tell.   I don't know what is meant by "performing ON the halls".  Banjos on the roof instead of inside? The different size banjos do not really correspond to the instruments of the orchestra. Sure, there are the names Cello banjo and piccolo banjo  and  contrabass banjo but that's about it. I know what you were getting at but will the average viewer know?   

 

Pär Engstrand said:

I like it. It's a good subject, I find.

In the video, the a bit longer text pass by a bit to quick. At least for me. That then lead to me feeling a bit stressed everytime a text showed up, thinking I wouldn't finish reading it before it goes away. But maybe I'm just a slow reader.

FWIW "Calliope Rag" was not published until 1966 in the book "They All Played Ragtime."  Even then (presumably) only a tiny fragment of the piece-- a melody section of the A part-- was composed before Bob Darch wrote the rest in the 60s.

If you are planning on a historically informed presentation that depicts banjo prior to the 1970s (when this piece was first arranged by an ABF member for banjo) you might want to choose one of the thousands of pieces that were published during the classic era found in the music library on this website.

Perhaps Morley's "A Sea Breeze" or Grimhsaw's "Sailor's Don't Care"  or "A Pierrot's Serenade" would be more appropriate?

Here is "March of the Pierrots" by George Lansing. https://archive.org/details/MarchOfThePierrots

I think I have a copy of "Dance of the Pierrots" by Vess Ossman at home that I can scan if you are interested. 

thanks all, exactly what I was hoping for, keep it coming ! To address a few points; I too felt the text was a bit quick in places and I said so to the person who helped and did the technical stuff that I couldn't do, I shall mention it again, I guess the font didn't help but I wanted it to look reminiscent of the captions to a Harold Lloyd , Charlie Chaplin movie. Joel, I like the sound of Pierrot specific tunes and, I will be checking them out, bear in mind guys that my audience are Brits and non banjo aficionados  so, they are likely to only tolerate tunes they are fairly familiar with, I have Blaze Away, Whistling Rufus and several more tunes likely to be well known in the UK, tune choice however is fluid and can change often and, probably will as I add to my repertoire, Jody, my understanding was that the different size banjos did correspond to the orchestra but, maybe I am wrong, I shall check that one out probably in back copies of BMG. Playing on the halls, a very British expression likely to be understood by most Brits ! However thanks again all who made suggestions, I am grateful to you all, your help is most welcome.

I was being literal minded. There's no flute banjo, no violin banjo, no viola banjo, no bassoon banjo, no glockenspiel banjo, not oboe banjo, well .. you get the picture.

nick stephens said:

Jody, my understanding was that the different size banjos did correspond to the orchestra but, maybe I am wrong, I shall check that one out probably in back copies of BMG. 

not literal minded, pedantic I would say ! my understanding is that a small banjo played violin parts, a larger banjo cello parts and a bass banjo, bass parts no ? If that is not the case then I am misinformed and I wonder what those "other" sized banjos were designed for.

Jody Stecher said:

I was being literal minded. There's no flute banjo, no violin banjo, no viola banjo, no bassoon banjo, no glockenspiel banjo, not oboe banjo, well .. you get the picture.

nick stephens said:

Jody, my understanding was that the different size banjos did correspond to the orchestra but, maybe I am wrong, I shall check that one out probably in back copies of BMG. 

Pedantic or literal minded, either way it seems to me that what you have described is a trio. A symphony orchestra is not a trio.  The other sized banjos are designed to play in various sonic registers. Little banjos play high, biguns play low, medium ones in between. It's for a banjo orchestra, which is its own genre.

nick stephens said:

not literal minded, pedantic I would say ! my understanding is that a small banjo played violin parts, a larger banjo cello parts and a bass banjo, bass parts no ? If that is not the case then I am misinformed and I wonder what those "other" sized banjos were designed for.

Jody Stecher said:

I was being literal minded. There's no flute banjo, no violin banjo, no viola banjo, no bassoon banjo, no glockenspiel banjo, not oboe banjo, well .. you get the picture.

nick stephens said:

Jody, my understanding was that the different size banjos did correspond to the orchestra but, maybe I am wrong, I shall check that one out probably in back copies of BMG. 

I'm straining not to rant on about literal minded pedantry...

Yah, I would prefer period correct music. The problem with this is that much of it was "music hall" vocals, not stuffy banjo solos or orchestral pieces. The troupes usually only had a few players and weren't going to sell tickets by playing pieces that banjoists enjoy. Cheery music, funny routines, laugh-out-loud lyrics and slapstick. Put a pretty girl on stage and let her sing some bright tune. No doubt, the players probably played their favorites backstage, for their banjo-playing groupies.

Nobody in his target audience is going to care about instrument pedantry...unless he intends to bore them to death.

It is a crying shame that there is no Glockenspiel Banjo though...

We were asked for constructive criticism that might lead to improving the video. I like the video and I gave constructive criticism and so did others.  What's the problem?

Dance%20of%20the%20Pierrots%20Ossman.pdf

See attached for the Ossman piece.

No problem here Jody ! I asked and, I received, my point being that "banjo orchestras" enjoyed a measure of success back in the day and, as far as I am aware arranged the pieces they played in accordance with regular orchestral arrangements using big uns little uns and in betweenies . BMG is full of allusions to banjo orchestras and it is clear that the CE range of odd sized banjos were built to cater for just those players ! I have done my due research and, continue to pursue this research, I live on the south coast here in England and relics of those times are everywhere you look, most people here in the UK are fairly "savvy"  re; Pierrot troupes, concert parties and their like. Each year for the last four years I have played my one man show weekly on the Broadstairs bandstand (a Victorian bandstand!) I talk regularly with many of those in attendance and, the interest in this style of entertainment is strong believe me ! This is exactly what has prompted me to try such a venture, talk about banjo makes, models, styles and watch those eyes glaze over, sing "Daisy Belle" and hear the chorus swell when the audience join in, I believe I can handle the presentation, what I cannot do is make videos thus, I enlisted help and, because I remain unsure of the quality/validity of this one I thought I might ask here and on BHO  for feedback. I very much value what you all have to say and, I thank you too, I will get there eventually.

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