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Related to banjo: mandolin


stringed musical instrument, with a body resembling a tambourine. The banjo consists of a hoop over which a skin membrane is stretched; it has a long, often fretted neck and four to nine strings, which are plucked with a pick or the fingers. Originally made from a gourd and animal skin, it was brought by slaves to the Caribbean, then to America (by 1688) from W Africa; similar instruments are also found in the Middle East and Far East. Frets, a metal ring, and other additions changed the instrument until it reached its modern appearance and characteristic sound. It was played in minstrel shows in the 19th cent. It is used in Southern folk music, in country and western musiccountry and western music,
American popular music form originating in the Southeast (country music) and the Southwest and West (western music). The two regional styles coalesced in the 1920s when recorded material became available in rural areas, and they were further
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, and, because of its incisive, percussive quality, as a rhythm or a solo instrument in Dixieland bands.


See L. Dubois, The Banjo (2016).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



pizzicato string instrument akin to the guitar. The body is in the shape of a flat tambourine with a skin diaphragm. It has four to nine strings. The sharp, harsh, quickly fading sound is produced with a plectrum. Around the 17th century it was brought from Western Africa to the USA, where it was widely used by Negroes for accompaniment to singing and for solo playing. In the 19th century it was improved: the five-string banjo appeared, and stops on the neck came into use. Varieties of banjos of different sizes and pitches are used in jazz.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a stringed musical instrument with a long neck (usually fretted) and a circular drumlike body overlaid with parchment, plucked with the fingers or a plectrum
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"The only trouble is that we're going to bluegrass festivals and I've got Parkinson's Disease and it's really affected my left hand and I can't play the banjo or guitar any more, but I'll join in on the singing at least.
Following in the footsteps of Ustad Bismillah Khan, who plays ragas on shehnai and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, who has lifted santoor to the same level, Ustad Sabzal is known to have perfected his art of playing banjo to create music of the highest order.
He played only in church but eventually stopped altogether, putting the banjo under his bed for four years.
This conference was just one of a growing number of events fueling interest in the antebellum banjo. As mainstream interest in the banjo's use in old-time, bluegrass, and other popular musics capture the public's popular imagination with a generalized view of banjo history, explorations into the deeper recesses of the banjo's often-contested past are unfolding at events like the Early American Banjo Conference.
A gentleman is a man who knows how to play the banjo, but chooses not
"He wanted the neck off my banjo so he could put his name in there, so he could inlay it," Bradley said, caressing the neck of his current banjo.
"But in America people know when you're a good banjo player so I was really nervous about playing out there.
The film opens with a scene of Fleck playing banjo in an African village.
His instruments can be found throughout Mississippi, across the United States, and even around the world with a banjo in Germany and a mandolin in Holland.
In the opening chapter, "Banjo Cultures," Mazow introduces the concept for the show and signals the main theme of the book: From the stringed gourd instrument brought over by African slaves to the nineteenth-century minstrel show to the twentieth-century signifier of the vernacular and old-fashioned, the evolution of the banjo illuminates several national sagas and histories, including racial typing, minstrelsy, and the rise and fall of vaudeville and other entertainments.
The next characters to be ( included in the game would be Banjo and Kazooie from the "Banjo-Kazooie" games.