The Banjo

Aaron Jonah Lewis

Contrary to some belief, the banjo is a serious instrument popular in many guises, including jazz and even has its own repertoire. In addition to the music especially written for the instrument by such luminaries as Emile Grimshaw, Joe Morley, Arthur Stanley, Alfred Cammeyer (which often takes the form of marches, miniatures and light classical), virtually everything is possible on the banjo including much of the guitar repertoire, early and lute music. In the banjo’s heyday, transcriptions were published of every style of music.

As well as serious musical study, the banjo is a useful tool to demonstrate wonderful legato melody, harmony, rhythm, duo-style (melody with accompaniment on one instrument), and jazz.

The banjo’s rich, full tone can be used to great effect as a self-accompanying solo instrument incorporating melody, harmony and chords all at once to produce a complete and exciting solo pieces.