Music Trade Review

Music Trade Review 1902 - BANJO, MANDOLIN, GUITAR.

Die Zeitschrift Music Trade Review ist online verfügbar:

Music Trade Review - Music Industry Magazine

Online Library: 1880 - 1933, 1940-1954

The Music Trade Review was published out of New York from 1878 until at least 1956. It apparently suspended publication with the January 1933 issue. Publication was resumed under different management sometime between 1937 and 1940. Our online library contains issues from 1880 to 1933, and from 1940 to 1954. Additional years are available for review at a number of libraries. Search for more information about the holdings of other libraries, or ask your local librarian for assistance.

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Men Interested in These Three Instruments Form Guild -Objects, the Standardizing of Manufacture, Literature and Teaching, and the Granting of Diplomas —Organization Effected and Charter to' be Obtained.

The American Guild of Banjoists, Mandolinists and Guitarists, an organization whose membership is intended to include music publishers, manufacturers and teachers of these three instruments, was formally launched at a meeting held at Hotel Marliave, Boston, on Jan. 23. A number of the men well known in these departments were present.

The organization, which has been in process of incubation for the past two years, has been persistently agitated by C. L. Partee through columns of his interesting paper, The Cadenza. It was only last week, however, that the plans, so long formulated, were put into effect.

The objects of the guild as set forth are to further advance the interests of the instruments named, in their literature, music and manufacture; to set the standard of competence and establish a higher average of ability among those desiring to teach; to provide a bureau of acknowledged authority on instruments and their study and to conduct examinations and grant diplomas throughout the United States.

About fifty men interested in the welfare of the "small goods" craft were at the dinner, after which Clarence L. Partee, of New York, called the meeting to order, and then H. S. Odell, of Boston, presented a report on the preliminaries and future work of the guild. The report in substance stated that there is not a recognized college, school or guild in the United States which has the chartered right to institute examinations and grant diplomas to teachers and graduates of the banjo, mandolin and guitar. The guild intends to operate under a charter which will give authority to grant diplomas to every school in the Union.

Charles Morris, Charles Williams, Clarence L. Partee, D. H. Day, of Lewiston, Me., Thos. J. Armstrong and O. H. Albrecht, of Philadelphia, W. A. Cole, Fred Martin and P. J. Foley, of Boston, spoke upon the objects of the guild.

The following ticket was presented and unanimously elected.

President, I. H. Odell, Boston; vice-president, Charles Morris, Philadelphia;  secretary and treasurer, Clarence L. Partee, New York. Executive committee, A. A. Farlam and Samuel Sigel, New York, Geo. L. Lansing and H. F. Odell, Boston.

The matter of securing a charter for the guild, and other things in connection with the further organization of the work, were left to the executive committee.

Among those represented at the conference were the Witmark house, of New York, through Mr. Parry; the Regal Mfg. Co., Indianapolis, Ind., through Mr. Merrill, and the John C. Haynes Co., of Boston, through Mr. Williams.

In a chat this week with Mr. Partee, he expressed himself enthusiastically over the prospects for the new organization. He considers that not only will it do much to raise the professional standard, but will be of benefit to the manufacturers in the long end. It will elevate to a higher plane that branch of the industry termed "small goods" and a more merited estimate will be placed upon these products.

The Review extends to the new organization the best of wishes for its success, and congratulates all concerned in its formation.




The fact that the top or sounding-board of a guitar is of such dimensions that the tone produced has always been somewhat of a disappointment, caused Theo. Wolfram, of Columbus, ()., to study and experiment until he found the reason why the tone was not as strong or sustaining as it should be. He invented the "Vibratory Rim." He was lately granted a patent, No. 687,097, and the Scientific American says: "This patent is of the greatest importance in stringed in- struments as it causes a richer, deeper tone with greater sustaining power."

The same was supplied on mandolins with the same result. The tone in both is no longer of that flat nasal quality, but rich and clear, so a guitar even on the twelfth fret sounds like a harp. The sound comes full and clear with the softest touch, the instrument being very sensitive to vibrations. Even the finest and most expensive instruments fall short in tone when compared with instruments made with the "vibratory rim." Mr. Wolfram has received several inquiries from large manufacturers of musical instruments, who desire the shop right for this patent.




A Musical Instrument Whose Past is Wrapped in Mystery—Dr. Clarke's Labors in This Connection.

Dr. Clarke, curator of musical instruments in the National Museum. Washington, D. C, has for some time past been engaged in efforts to trace the origin of the American banjo, an instrument which seems to be indigenous to the Southern States. Although not generally known, it is none the less true that the origin of the banjo is lost in the mists of a past that, comparatively speaking, is by no means remote. Although Dr. Clarke has labored faithfully to clear up the mystery, he has thus far made very little progress.

According to Noah Webster, who, far from being infallible, had, nevertheless, a happy faculty of inventing meanings for every word in the English language, regardless of its correctness, the people of the Mediterranean coasts have from a remote antiquity possessed a musical instrument known as the "pandore," the name of which is derived from the Greek divinity Pan, the god of nature, whom the ancients credited with having invented and performed on this instrument. The "pandore" is a large orpheon, having a flat face and back, similar to a guitar, with two incurvations on the sides. The bridge was set straight over the face, while the sound hole of the instrument was in the back. The "pandore" was equipped with fourteen strings, and, notwithstanding the fact that it bore little, if any, resemblance to a banjo, Webster declares that the latter instrument is an adaptation of the former, and that the name "banjo" is a corruption of "pandore," for both of which the negro slaves of the West Indies and the Southern States are responsible States are responsible.

Dr. Clarke is satisfied that Webster's definition is in error. As nearly as he has been
able to learn, the banjo did not appear in either the West Indies or on the west coast of Africa, in which latter region it remains to this day quite unknown, but that its origin must be sought somewhere in the Southern States. By patient and persevering investigation he has discovered that the first banjo was made by an old negro somewhere in South Carolina before the Revolutionary War. It was a tack-head banjo, the head consisting of a section or part of a gourd, to which a wooden handle was attached. Even this, however, is very vague and uncertain, and the origin and name of the instrument are still involved in the mists of the past.

William Boucher, of Baltimore, who is still living, invented the first screw-head banjo in 1847. His sons are to-day the largest banjo-makers in the United States. Mr. Boucher made several improvements on his original invention, which, with the original, are now in the National Museum. When Dr. Clarke called on him some months ago, hoping to learn something as to the origin of the banjo, he was disappointed, Mr. Boucher being unable to throw any light on the subject whatever. He stated that at the time he invented the screw-head banjo the old-fashioned tack-head banjos were common throughout the South, and that as little was known of their origin then as now. Thus the matter stands at present.

In a work by Carl Engel, entitled "A Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Instruments in the South Kensington Museum in 1874," S. W. Koelle, a missionary to West Africa, is quoted as saying that the tribes north of Liberia have a guitar-like instrument of seven strings—the banjo has only five—called the "bana," and that in Senegal, where the same instrument is also used, it is known as the "bania." This, he thinks, may have been the parent of the American banjo. It is worth noting that most of the negro slaves brought to this country before the Revolutionary War were recruited from this very region.


see also: 

A descriptive catalogue of the musical instruments in the South Kensington Museum : preceded by an essay on the history of musical instruments - South Kensington Museum

Oscar Schmidt


Gordon Guitar



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