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string bands in jooks, Hurston

GUEST,Joseph Scott 05 May 15 - 12:46 PM
GUEST 06 May 15 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 06 May 15 - 12:36 PM
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Subject: string bands in jooks, Hurston
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 05 May 15 - 12:46 PM

"In past generations the music [in a jook] was furnished by... guitars. One guitar was enough for a dance; to have two was considered excellent. Where two were playing one man played the lead and the other seconded him. The first player was 'picking' and the second was 'framming,' that is, playing chords while the lead carried the melody with dextrous finger work. Sometimes a third player was added, and he played a tom-tom effect on the low strings. Believe it or not, this is excellent dance music. Pianos soon came to take the place of the [guitars]...." -- Zora Neale Hurston, who was born the same year as Charlie Patton.


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Subject: RE: string bands in jooks, Hurston
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 15 - 10:26 AM

That makes sense. Before the advent of steel strings they would have used banjo, so the transition to steel-string guitar would be a natural development. Then a piano later when they could afford it.

I myself have played for dancers using a single steel-string acoustic guitar. It's surprisingly easy, and loud enough, and the dancers loved it.


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Subject: RE: string bands in jooks, Hurston
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 06 May 15 - 12:36 PM

"Before the advent of steel strings they would have used banjo" Howard Odum collected black folk music during 1905 to 1908 (when he was in his twenties and Hurston and Patton were teenagers), and his book with Guy Johnson, _Negro Workaday Songs_, says: "The blues originated, of course, with Negroes who had access to few instruments other than the banjo and the guitar."


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