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Early Black Banjo Piece

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Uploaded on Oct 15, 2009

The story behind this, as I understand it, is that the great 19th Century Banjoist Frank Converse recalled in his later life.
This is the text accompanying the early black banjo piece in Converses Cadenza (July 1901) article:

The first banjo I ever heard was in the hands of a colored man--a bright mulatto--whose name I have forgotten. He frequently visited Elmira and the neighboring villages, playing and singing and passing his hat for collections. His repertoire was not very extensive, but, with his comicalities, sufficed to gain him a living. I cannot say that I learned anything from his execution, which, though amusing, was limited to the thumb and first finger,--pulling or picking the strings with both. He was quite conceited as to his abilities (pardonable in banjo players, I believe), and to impress his listeners with a due appreciation of them, he would announce that such a trifling circumstance as the banjo being out of tune caused him no inconvenience and so, with a seemingly careless fumbling of the pegs, he would disarrange the tuning--fro de banjo out a tune, he said--but merely pitching the second string a semitone higher.

The following morceaux, which I still recall, was his piece de resistance with the instrument frod out a tune, and thinking it may amuse your readers, I give it.

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