cover of book

Building New Banjos for an Old-Time World
by Richard Jones-Bamman
University of Illinois Press, 2017
eISBN: 978-0-252-09990-8 | Cloth: 978-0-252-04130-3 | Paper: 978-0-252-08284-9
Library of Congress Classification ML1015.B3J66 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 787.88192

Banjo music possesses a unique power to evoke a bucolic, simpler past. The artisans who build banjos for old-time music stand at an unusual crossroads ”asked to meet the modern musician's needs while retaining the nostalgic qualities so fundamental to the banjo's sound and mystique. Richard Jones-Bamman ventures into workshops and old-time music communities to explore how banjo builders practice their art. His interviews and long-time personal immersion in the musical culture shed light on long-overlooked aspects of banjo making. What is the banjo builder's role in the creation of a specific musical community? What techniques go into the styles of instruments they create? Jones-Bamman explores these questions and many others while sharing the ways an inescapable sense of the past undergirds the performance and enjoyment of old-time music. Along the way he reveals how antimodernism remains integral to the music's appeal and its making.

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