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Bones Fest XXI
Aug 24 to 27, 2017
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Early Banjo Complete USB Flash Drive
Largest compendium of early instrumental banjo tunes ever compiled. Over 10 hours of audio plus the original source books—all on a handy Flash drive.
Largest compendium of early banjo tunes compiled in one place—
this is the Tim Twiss tune collection the minstrel banjo community is talking about.
You get 496 live recorded banjo tunes—
9 (pdf) instructional tutorial books.
That's more than 10 hours of banjo source music—
the original source materials.
All on a handy USB thumb drive!
USB Flash Drive
Quantity in Stock:20
The Inside Story...
Early Banjo Complete (USB Flash Drive)
Ten Hours of Banjo Source Music—Plus the Original Tutor Books
YES, this is the Tim Twiss banjo tune collection everyone is talking about.
If you want to play early banjo music on the minstrel banjo, then this is the mother lode of early banjo source material. There simply is no better resource that helps you gain a deeper understanding of early banjo in the authentic style.
Now, for the first time ever, you can hear how every early instrumental banjo tune is played—and see the original source material that goes with it. This massive work represents the largest compendium of early instrumental banjo tunes ever compiled.
So listen to the tunes, study the comprehensive source material...play early banjo music.
Grab Your Banjo and Play Early Minstrel Style with Tim Twiss!
Produced by Tim Twiss, a legendary figure in the early banjo community, each tune is played on a low tuned, skin head, fretless reproduction Boucher banjo (pictured right).
No other educational resource lets you hear every tune from the early minstrel banjo repertoire conscientiously performed from original source material, played solo, unadorned—and true to the score.
"My goal was to create faithful musical renditions of the written work and to reproduce it on an instrument that is representative of the banjo at that time," explains Tim. "I strove to perform it in such a way that it may become a baseline for interpretation by not interjecting excessive creative renderings, i.e. adding percussion or other instruments, and refraining from improvised interpretation."
So if you want to play early banjo music on the minstrel banjo, then this wellspring of early banjo source material will help you gain and develop that ability.
More than 10 Hours of Banjo Source Music—
the Original Tutor Books.
This is the largest compendium of early banjo tunes compiled in one place. The collection includes all the banjo instrumentals from the principal tutorial books published between 1855 and 1872 including the banjo section of the Converse Analytical Banjo Method of 1887. You can't get a better handle on early instrumental banjo music. Listen to the tunes played the way each tutor book intended them to be played. Examine the original tutors. They're all here—on a single thumb-drive.
Listen to the Tunes
The music is played live and solo by Tim Twiss. He plays each tune true and faithfully to the original instructional tutorial books on an 1850s fretless Boucher reproduction minstrel-style banjo. Each tune is rendered in a plain and unadorned fashion. Unlike concert recordings that feature a performer's unique and personal style, no external influences, percussive accompaniment, or embellishment will distract you from the intent of the original musical notation. Tim even refrains from imposing even his own personal improvised interpretation. So if you want to hear and learn from nothing but the raw true sound of each tune with no "artsy" interference, then order this marvelous anthology of early banjo tunes today.
Examine the Original Source Materials
In addition to the live recorded MP3 files, you also get nine original banjo tutor books—matched by the music. These are pdf files of the original music you can view on your computer or print for easy reference.
Take a look at all the tunes you get:
Early Banjo Complete Song List (pdf)
Perfect for Civil War Re-enactors, Early Banjo Researchers, and Living History Musicians
If you attend Civil War events or appreciate historically authentic early banjo music, then you must own
Early Banjo Complete.
Pictured right is a late-night jam held in the historic Pry House Field Hospital Museum at the
2015 Antietam Early Banjo Gathering
. That's Tim in the white shirt on the left, and yours truly in the green t-shirt way in the back rattlin' the bones.
Grab Yourself a Quick Listen...
Early Banjo Flash Drive Collection
Authorized Distributor: Bone Dry Music
Look what's on the Flash Drive:
About This Work
(1 pdf file)
(9 mp3 files. 496 tunes)
Converse Analytical 1887
Green Converse 1865
Yellow Converse 1865
The Early Banjo Tutors
(9 PDF files. 9 instructional tutor books)
1850s fretless Boucher reproduction minstrel-style banjo
Media Type: USB Flash (thumb) Drive
Total Recordings: 350
Total Tunes: 496 MP3 recordings
Total Running Time: 10 Hours
Swivel Style Drive: Sure-grip plastic case, brushed metal cap
Total Instructional Books: 9 original tutors (pdf format)
Release Date: June, 2015
Thumb Drive Made in China
About This Work
Early Banjo Complete is the result of many years of immersion in the study of the written record of banjo music. While the instrument was certainly played and widely accepted before this time, there was no formal notation to capture the essence of a performance. Although often criticized for documentation of an aural tradition, notation does indeed provide valuable insight into what existed in another time and place. It is not my purpose to defend nor condemn written notation, but rather to render a faithful performance of “what is”.
The story begins in 1855 with the posthumous publication of the
Briggs’ Banjo Instructor.
The actual authorship is thought to be either a young Frank Converse or James Buckley, as both musicians had the skills to accurately transcribe a musical performance. The continuity between their subsequent publications along with the painstaking detail of every nuance gives credence to the theory that indeed this music is a representation of what the banjo sounded like at that time.
My goal was to create faithful musical renditions of the written work and to reproduce it on an instrument that is representative of the banjo at that time. I strove to perform it in such a way that it may become a baseline for interpretation by not interjecting excessive creative renderings, i.e. adding percussion or other instruments, and refraining from improvised interpretation.
I included every major work of the period from 1855 until 1872.
Briggs’ Banjo Instructor
of 1855 published by Oliver Ditson & Co.
Phil Rice’s Method For The Banjo
1858 - Oliver Ditson & Co.
Buckley’s New Banjo Book of 1860 –
Firth, Pond, & Co.
Winner’s New Primer For The Banjo
1864 – William A. Pond & Co.
Frank B. Converse’s New and Complete Method For The Banjo With Or Without A Master
1865 – S.T. Gordon ( The “Green Book” )
Frank B. Converse’s Banjo Without A Master
1865 – Dick and Fitzgerald ( The “Yellow Book” )
Buckley’s Banjo Guide
1868 – Oliver Ditson & Co.
The Banjo, and How to Play it
1872 – Dick and Fitzgerald
In addition, I utilized the Banjo Style section from Frank B. Converse’s
Analytical Banjo Method
1887 published by S.T. Gordon & Son. Although it was published much later than the others, I consider it one of the most important. Banjo music had evolved into a more refined Guitar Style of play by this time, and a great portion of the Analytical covers that by staying in the fold of what was happening at the time. The attention he gave to the Banjo section of the book is noteworthy and of particular interest to me. Converse defined, but did not change the earliest techniques found in these books some 25 plus years ago. The pieces are highly edited and fingered, but the result is a style true to the sound of the “old days”. It is a scholar putting definition to an idiom of music. The “Strikes and Movements” of the Rice and Briggs’ have become “Combinations” with a way to fit this technique into nearly every piece. It looks complicated, but is actually logical and easy. It provides a cohesive way to view “Stroke Style” banjo playing. The addition of defining the “Hammer Stroke” is a bonus. I am certain it was used instinctively in earlier times, as its description and inclusion into the notation is invaluable to those peeping in from another century. For further clarification, I included only the section from the Banjo Style because the Guitar Style pieces have clearly become a separate entity.
The development of two distinct styles of play was a slow drift and nearly indiscernible in its evolution. It is a matter of great debate as to how and when the styles existed. In addition, it is widely accepted that the Stroke Style of play was adapted from observation of African American musicians and their technique. Briggs clearly described and notated this. Soon after, with the publication of the 1860 Buckley Book, we see the Guitar Style of play actually mentioned, and many of the pieces clearly are appropriate, given the extended use of vertical harmony and extension of the repertoire into European song forms. In 1865, Frank Converse devoted an entire section of his book to the technique and repertoire of the Guitar Style of play.
In this time of innovation and exploration, the instruments themselves as well as the music were undergoing radical transformation. We cannot say for certain when this or that started or ended. Rather, we must view the entire body of work and draw our own conclusions. I find the “Hybrid” style most useful, in which both the Guitar and Stroke Style techniques can be applied. Having played the hundreds of songs in these tutors, I find there are many instances where either technique applies. By 1872 in the Converse book
The Banjo and How to Play it,
the future of the banjo in Guitar Style is well established.
It is my personal opinion that Frank Converse gives us the Alpha and Omega view of this chapter in banjo history in his
Analytical Banjo Method.
He is unique in his longevity, talent, and scholarly publications. From a study of his work, and the inclusion of the body of material in between, I hope that these recordings provide the hobbyist and professional a common core from which to depart and creatively interpret this old and precious slice of American music.
Timothy Twiss / June 2015
Ten hours of banjo source music - PLUS the original source books.
You get 496 (mp3) banjo tunes - PLUS 9 (pdf) instructional tutorial books.
Largest compendium of early banjo tunes compiled in one place.
All on a handy USB thumb-drive.
Performed live & solo by the legendary Tim Twiss, played true to the score.
Every banjo instrumental from principal tutorial books published between 1855 and 1872.
Includes banjo section from Converse Analytical Banjo Method of 1887.
Includes PDF scans from actual early banjo tutor method books.
Extremely Rare Banjo Resource: Hard-to-find product you won't see at your local music shop.
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