Skip to main content
×
Home

Porch and Playhouse, Parlor and Performance Hall: Traversing Boundaries in Gottschalk's The Banjo

Abstract
Abstract

This article reconsiders the cultural significance and historical impact of the well-known virtuosic piano composition The Banjo by Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Throughout the early nineteenth century, the banjo and the piano inhabited very specific and highly contrasting performance circumstances: black folk entertainment and minstrel shows for the former, white middle- and upper-class parlors and concert halls for the latter. In The Banjo, Louis Moreau Gottschalk lifted the banjo out of its familiar contexts and placed it in the spaces usually privileged for the piano. Taking its inspiration from both African American and minstrel banjo playing techniques, Gottschalk's composition relaxed and muddled the boundaries among performance spaces, racial and class divisions, and two conspicuously different musical instruments in an egalitarian effort to demonstrate that, contrary to the opinions of some mid-nineteenth-century musical critics and tastemakers, both the piano and the banjo have a place in the shaping of American music culture.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Louis Moreau Gottschalk Manuscripts. Music Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. New York, NY.
Levy Sheet Music Collection. Special Collections, Milton S. Eisenhower Library. Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore, MD.
Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music . Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/collections/american-sheet-music-1820-to-1860.
The Albion, or, British, Colonial, and Foreign Weekly Gazette
Courrier de la Louisiane
Courrier des États-Unis
Daily Saratogian
Daily True Delta
Dwight's Journal of Music
Flake's Bulletin
Hartford Daily Courant
L'Abeille
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine
Nashville Union and American
New Orleans Daily Crescent
New Orleans Daily Picayune
New York Clipper
New York Daily Times
New York Musical World
New York Musical World and Times
New York Review and Gazette
New York Times
Wisconsin Daily Patriot
Baron John H. Concert Life in New Orleans: A Comprehensive Reference. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013.
Baur Albert. “Reminiscences of a Banjo Player.” S. S. Stewart's Banjo and Guitar Journal (February–March 1888): 2.
Bollman James F., and Gura Philip. America's Instrument: The Banjo in the Nineteenth Century. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
Charry Eric. “Plucked Lutes in West Africa: An Historical Overview.” Galpin Society Journal 49 (1996): 337.
Cockrell Dale. Demons of Disorder: Early Blackface Minstrels and Their World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Coolen Michael Theodore. “Senegambian Archetypes for the American Folk Banjo.” Western Folklore 43, no. 2 (1984): 117–32.
Doyle John Godfrey. Louis Moreau Gottschalk, 1829–1869: A Bibliographical Study and Catalog of Works. Detroit, MI: College Music Society, 1983.
Dubois Laurent. The Banjo: America's African Instrument. Cambridge: Belknap, 2016.
Epstein Dena J.The Folk Banjo: A Documentary History.” Ethnomusicology 19, no. 3 (September 1975): 347–71.
Epstein Dena J. Sinful Tunes and Spirituals: Black Folk Music to the Civil War. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003.
[Gottschalk, Louis Moreau], writing as “Seven Octaves.” Morning Times. Undated clipping. Louis Moreau Gottschalk Manuscripts. Music Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. New York, NY.
Gottschalk Louis Moreau. List of compositions (n.d.). Louis Moreau Gottschalk Manuscripts. Music Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. New York, NY.
Gottschalk Louis Moreau. Notes of a Pianist. Edited by Behrend Jeanne. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964.
Harpham Geoffrey Galt. On the Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982.
Jefferson Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. London: Stockdale, 1787.
Lawrence Vera Brodsky. Strong on Music: The New York Music Scene in the Days of George Templeton Strong. Volume 2: Reverberations, 1850–1856. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Lhamon W. T. Jr. Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998.
Linn Karen. That Half-Barbaric Twang. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991.
Lott Eric. Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Lott R. Allen. From Paris to Peoria: How European Composers Brought Classical Music to the Heartland. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Mahar William J. Behind the Burnt Cork Mask: Early Blackface Minstrelsy and Antebellum American Popular Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999).
Mazow Leo. Picturing the Banjo. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005.
Meredith Sarah. With a Banjo on Her Knee: Gender, Race, Class, and the American Classical Banjo Tradition, 1880–1915. Ph.D. diss., Florida State University, 2003.
Morgan Elizabeth. “War on the Home Front: Battle Pieces for the Piano from the American Civil War.” Journal of the Society for American Music 9, no. 4 (November 2015): 381408.
Perone James E. Louis Moreau Gottschalk: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
Preston Katherine K. Opera on the Road: Traveling Opera Troupes in the United States, 1825–60. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.
Schissel Eric. “List of Compositions by Charles Grobe.” International Music Score Library Project/Petrucci Music Library. http://imslp.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Charles_Grobe.
Smith Christopher J. The Creolization of American Culture: William Sydney Mount and the Roots of Blackface Minstrelsy. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013.
Smith Paul Ely. “Gottschalk's The Banjo, op. 15, and the Banjo in the Nineteenth Century.” Current Musicology 50 (1992): 4761.
Southern Eileen. The Music of Black Americans: A History. 3rd ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 1997.
Starr S. Frederick. Bamboula! The Life and Times of Louis Moreau Gottschalk. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Stowe Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom's Cabin, or, Life Among the Lowly. London: Routledge, 1852.
Taruskin Richard. The Oxford History of Western Music. 6 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Thomas Tony. “The Hard Truths about Picayune Butler.” Minstrel Banjo. http://minstrelbanjo.ning.com/forum/topics/the-hard-truths-about-picayune-butler.
Toll Robert C. Blacking Up: The Minstrel Show in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.
Webb Robert Lloyd. Ring the Banjar! The Banjo in America from Folklore to Factory. Cambridge: MIT Museum, 1984.
Winans Robert B. “Buckley.” Grove Music Online. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/A2234604.
Winans Robert B.The Folk, the Stage, and the Five-String Banjo in the Nineteenth Century.” Journal of American Folklore 89, no. 354 (1976): 407–37.
Bassford T. Franklin. “Banjo Dance,” op. 7. New York: Horace Waters, 1853. Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music. http://www.loc.gov/collections/american-sheet-music-1820-to-1860.
Batchelder W. K. “Imitation of the Banjo for the Piano.” Boston: Russell & Towman, n.d. (ca. 1854). Levy Sheet Music Collection. Special Collections, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. http://jhir.library.jhu.edu/handle/1774.2/9562.
Benedict Joseph. “Banjo Polka.” Louisville, KY: Peters, Webb, 1851. Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music. http://www.loc.gov/collections/american-sheet-music-1820-to-1860.
De Meyer Leopold. Grande Fantaisie pour le Piano sur les Airs Nationaux Américains, op. 52. New York: Scharfenberg & Luis, 1846.
Foster Stephen C.Gwine to Run All Night; or, De Camptown Races.” Baltimore: F. Benteen & Co., 1850. Reprinted in Stephen Foster Song Book: Original Sheet Music of 40 Songs, ed. Jackson Richard (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1974): 1417.
Gottschalk Louis Moreau. Second Banjo, op. 82. Boston: Ditson, 1873.
Gottschalk Louis Moreau. The Banjo: Grotesque Fantasie, An American Sketch, op. 15. New York: William Hall & Son, 1855.
Heinrich Anthony Philip. The Sylviad: Or, Minstrelsy of Nature in the Wilds of North America. Clark J. Bunker, ed. Boston: n.p., 1823, 1825–26. Reprint, Greenleaf, WI: Conners, 1996.
Herz Henri. Variations Brilliantes et Grande Fantaisie sur des Airs Nationaux Américains. Paris: J. Meissonnier et Fils, n.d. [ca.1846]. International Music Score Library Project/Petrucci Music Library. http://imslp.org.
Strakosch Maurice. “The Banjo: Capriccio Characteristique.” New York: Firth, Pond, 1852. Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music. http://www.loc.gov/collections/american-sheet-music-1820-to-1860.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the Society for American Music
  • ISSN: 1752-1963
  • EISSN: 1752-1971
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-society-for-american-music
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 43 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 101 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 16th May 2017 - 13th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.