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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 Originally made from a gourd and animal skin, it was brought by slaves to the Caribbean, then to America (by 1688) from W Africa; similar instruments are also found in the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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Elsewhere, Fleck and the quartet turned in a rollicking "Griff'' and a more sedate Fleck composition titled "The Landing.'' Fleck took center stage for a solo rendition of one of the movements from "The Imposter,'' the banjoists's concerto for banjo and symphony orchestra.
One of Statman's first paid gigs came in 1965 at a country music bar on Long Island frequented by a similar clientele of Southern transplants; he played that night with banjoist Tony Trischka and guitarist Joel Diamond.
(18.) Bob Black, Blue Grass Boys' banjoist from August 1974 to August 1976, recalled that "Bill often told me how [in the 1940s) his selection of band members would be based more on their baseball talent than their musical ability." It bears noting that he described the baseball-music pattern of Monroe's tent show days (1944-45, and possibly 1948), not the reversed pattern of 1949, onwards (Bob Black, Come Hither to Go Yonder: Playing Bluegrass with Bill Monroe [Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005], 57).
Catherine then married John Gaisey, a Ghanaian seaman and banjoist, with whom she had three more children.
Horace Weston was a minstrel banjoist beginning his career with Buckley's Serenaders in 1863.
bandores banjoist Brahmins broadens confuted habitude halutzim hedonist hoatzins hordeins joinders pibrochs spheroid
Tucker (aka lead singer, guitarist and banjoist Catherine Doherty) and Travis (Lisa Silverman, who sings and plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica) were once a cowdyke duo--just two girls with 10-gallon hats and a hankering for a hunk of attention--and the group just kept growing.
Where there is no band or piano, you can get portable organs, a banjoist, guitarist.
Since "O Brother's" release -- and domination of the country albums chart -- Krauss, Loveless and Harris have released new albums, 74-year-old banjoist Stanley has been on tour relentlessly, and King is beginning a string of dates with the Muddy Waters All-Stars.
Other evenings, you might hear banjoist Eddy Davis's New Orleans Jazz Band, Stanley's Washboard Kings, and other traditional combinations.
Three decades later, Isbell goes in search of the "lost banjoist" and discovers that he is Stanley Hicks, a storyteller, musician and instrument-maker.
It's about riding a train from Houston to Galveston, Tex., sipping cocktails and listening to a banjoist play "Dixie." In short, it's anything but edgy.