Playing music is a great thing, because it not only stimulates and strengthens our brain cells and promotes our abstract mind and purportedly makes you smarter. Clever or not, playing music brings fun and enjoyment to the table.
If you are now the type of person who has always wanted to learn a musical instrument, but has never been keen on playing the piano or playing the guitar, then perhaps the banjo is the right instrument for you to inspire your friends and family.
What is a banjo?
If you've never heard of a banjo before, do not bother, because you're probably not alone. Originally, the banjo comes from West Africa and is known for its slavery in the New World or the south of today's USA. Since his arrival, the banjo has changed a lot both visually and in its sound. The banjo is known today as a so-called plucked instrument, but the word banjo is derived from the Old English usage and derives from the word "bandore".
Unlike our western guitar, the banjo has a much longer neck and is equipped with frets, each with four to six strings. In its original form, however, the banjo was fretless and fünfsaitig. Also, the body of the banjo is unusual compared to other instruments and thus contributes to its unique appearance and sound. In contrast to the curved body of a guitar, the resonator of a banjo is round and consists of a plywood frame over which a membrane made of plastic is stretched. Occasionally, you can also find banjos that are stretched with animal skin, but this is now very unusual. The artificial membrane is attached to the plywood frame with tension screws, giving it a drum-like appearance.
Where is the banjo played?
Traditionally, the banjo has a great importance in African American music before it gained more and more popularity and entered the American music world. Today, the banjo is associated with traditional Irish music, the bluegrass, as well as jazz and American country music. It mainly uses the 5-string banjo.
What kind of banjos are there today?
Previously, there were already numerous variations of banjos, which differed in size, number of strings, and the number of bundles. Today's banjo comes from a banjo that was played in the 17th century in the Caribbean. Until its introduction to the American music world, the banjo in its original form was known as a 5-string, fretless instrument. Later, the 5-string, bunchless banjo became a banjo with 22 frets. Numerous variants were created, which differ in size, number of strings and accordingly sound today. The commercially available banjos today are either four, five or six string, and can have necks of up to 25 frets.
The 5-string banjo, for example, is mainly used in bluegrass, a kind of 'country music'. Fingerpicks made of metal or plastic are used and inserted over the fingertips. The strings are then plucked with thumb, index and middle fingers to produce the typical high sound of bluegrass music. Often this is also referred to as 3 finger technique.
Four-stringed banjos mainly appear in classical jazz music. Here is mainly between 22 - flush plectrum - banjos and 17 or 19 flush tenor banjo distinction. The other 4-string banjos also include the tango banjo, the bass banjo and the ukulele banjo, as well as other crazy variants. Unfortunately, apart from the ukulele banjo, which finds its use as a singing companion, the other banjos are no longer used. A modern form of the banjo is the 6-string banjo, which is also referred to as a guitar banjo, since it is played much like a guitar.