Hey, I'm curious what distinguishes 'rapping' within overhand banjo playing. In this video (youtube.com/watch?v=Wykhv615Zoc) Mike Seeger says that Uncle Dave Macon is obviously rapping in Railroadin' and Gamblin.' All I can find online is that clawhammer banjo is sometimes called rapping, however there must be something that distinguishes the two.
Just a guess but I would think rapping is when someone specifically raps the head to make a drum sound using either their thumb or fingers. I have seen it done both ways and I love the way it sounds.
To rapp or not to rapp – one more tool in the CH shed. banjered
Bill Rogers (Moderator)
No difference. It’s simply one of the several regional or even personal terms for the style. And no, there are no generally accepted clearly delimited terms for various approaches to overhand downstroke (non-minstrel) playing styles. Discussions have been going on for years. See, e.g.
Some of the older people I knew called the style of playing I use "Rapping", and others called the same style "Thumping".
"Clawhammer" is a more modern name used to lump a good many different, some quite different, old time down picking styles into the same bucket, so doesn't really have enough meaning to define whatever style one plays.
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