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Round Peak

Posted by tfaux on Friday, February 5, 2010

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Many thanks for the thoughtful discussion.

This is how the composite BHO picture of Round Peak looks to me now:

• Most playing is in first position;
• Repeated pull-offs on the same string combined with drop-thumb;
• A close link between fiddle and banjo phrasing, particularly since many of the early 20th c. RP banjo players were also fiddlers;
• Slides, pull-offs, etc. are all fair game, but not strictly melodic renditions;
• Preference--but not a strict one--for fretless banjo;
• K. Creed's tendency to play over the neck has become strongly linked to RP, but is somewhat atypical;
• The notion of a coherent "Round Peak style" is something of a modern, retrospective invention;
• Particular techniques (ASPO, over the neck playing, and the Galax lick) have all been associated with early non-RP players as well, but are perhaps most clearly associated with the style, at least in combination.

The sample of Round Peak 1920s-30s players is perhaps too limited to strictly define a style.  Still, there are recordings that seem to be typical.  So maybe rather than a concrete banjo "style," RP was just a loose collection of these approaches that were especially popular among that particular crowd, in that particular charmed historical moment.


1 comment on “Round Peak”

Dock Jekel Says:
Tuesday, February 9, 2010 @6:55:54 AM

Nicely done summary. Thanks a lot. I notice that another issue that confounds the issue is the just over-the-hill-regionality. Round Peak style is similar to the Galax area, but is a little different. Then there is the Watson family area...

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