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Buckley seems to have been particularly sensitive to and appreciative of banjo syncopation.

The Early Minstrel Banjo: Technique And Repertoire | Banjo, Classic songs, Minstrel show

So if you are interested in pursuing this matter of banjo syncopation, you should get the Buckley book. You could also buy the Rice book to learn the basics of downstroking [it is a good instruction manual] and bypass a course of instruction in modern clawhammer style. The syncopated effect is intensified if this shifting is done repeatedly. The following tunes in Buckley embody syncopated rhythm patterns:.

Newton Jig. Root Hog or Die. Raccoon Jig. Corn-husking Jig. Arkansas Traveler. Rapahanock Jig. Chuckle Jig. Gas Light Jig. Great Eastern Jig. Pea-Patch Jig.

At this point, I would suggest that you listen to a presentation that I gave on minstrel banjo syncopation, first at the Black Banjo Gathering and then at the Early Banjo Gathering, where it was recorded. Read the paragraph there and then click on the second link, the one to the musical examples. This link opens up a slide show that accompanies the lecture, which you then access by clicking on the upper links.

The first six tunes noted above along with others are used as examples in the presentation. Nathan includes the following syncopated tunes from an Emmett manuscript of tunes although for some he chose to give the version published in in a clarinet tutor rather than the version in the manuscript :. Negro on the Wood Pile Jig,. Moze Haymar Jig,. Peter Story Jig,. Pea Patch Jig,. Eelam Moore Jig,. Root Hog or Die Jig,. My First Jig,.

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Bull Upon the Battery Jig,. Hekok Jig,. Sliding Jenny Jig,. Emmett was clearly another minstrel musician who was keenly attuned to syncopation, likely because of the influence of a black brother banjo and fiddle duo, the Snowdens, in his home town of Mount Vernon, Ohio see the book by Howard and Judith Sacks, Way Up North in Dixie. This chapter was the starting point for my research into banjo syncopation. Nathan had earlier published this chapter as an article which you can read online if you have access to JSTOR. Tony, in one of his recent commentaries, stated that minstrel banjo tunes sound very European to him.

So, syncopated tunes, which can have something of an African or African American feel, are a small subset of the minstrel banjo repertory, which does not diminish their importance for our purposes here. Listening to syncopated minstrel banjo tunes will help one get a feel for banjo syncopation of the sort that not only was probably an important part of pre-minstrel black playing, but also informs the playing of 20 th century black banjoists, and it should help in the process of incorporating these kinds of rhythms into your own playing.

A first source would be the musical examples in my online lecture on syncopation, referred to above. Hekok Jig. New Orleans Daily Picayune. New York Clipper. New York Daily Times. New York Musical World. New York Musical World and Times. New York Review and Gazette. New York Times. Wisconsin Daily Patriot. Baron , John H. Baur , Albert.

Bollman , James F. Charry , Eric. Cockrell , Dale.

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Cambridge : Cambridge University Press , Coolen , Michael Theodore. Doyle , John Godfrey. Dubois , Laurent. The Banjo: America's African Instrument. Cambridge : Belknap , Epstein , Dena J. Urbana : University of Illinois Press , Undated clipping. Gottschalk , Louis Moreau. List of compositions n. Notes of a Pianist. Edited by Behrend , Jeanne.

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The Early Minstrel Banjo - Technique and Repertoire

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