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Mar 4, 2024 - 2:23:31 PM

Kellie

USA

162 posts since 1/19/2018

Is there a difference between these two? I was always under the impression that African folk rhythms inspired The stroke style. Whereas clawhammer is more of a mixture between Western tunes and the African way of playing the instrument. But it's just a hunch I don't know for certain. Does anyone here play stroke/thimble/minstrel style? So many names for one style.

Mar 4, 2024 - 3:17:02 PM

11333 posts since 4/23/2004

I play both (plus many others). In my opinion, Stroke style is prototypical of drop-thumb clawhammer. It tends to be more complex than straight clawhammer.

Frank Converse covered all the movements of Stroke style fairly early on. I think it was over-complicated for the folk process and those aspects were dropped.

Mar 4, 2024 - 4:13:44 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

27885 posts since 6/25/2005

There’s a fair amount of stroke-style banjo on YouTube. Tim Twiss and Carl Anderton among others. Watch those videos and compare the sound and appearance with such clawhammer players as Brad Kolodner and Walt Koken.

Twiss also posts as banjosnapper, and Anderton usually as Old Cremona. Both are Hangout members.

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 03/04/2024 16:26:45

Mar 4, 2024 - 4:48:38 PM

Kellie

USA

162 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2

I play both (plus many others). In my opinion, Stroke style is prototypical of drop-thumb clawhammer. It tends to be more complex than straight clawhammer.

Frank Converse covered all the movements of Stroke style fairly early on. I think it was over-complicated for the folk process and those aspects were dropped.

Would you say that stroke style is the preserved version of the original polyrhythms that the African Diaspora would have used? I'm not sure. Just curious. 

Mar 4, 2024 - 7:34:18 PM

11333 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:

Would you say that stroke style is the preserved version of the original polyrhythms that the African Diaspora would have used? I'm not sure. Just curious. 


Reasearch has identified a number of tunes which could have been played on a 4-string (3 long, one short) instrument...which is thought to be an early feature. A few tunes sound similar to what we hear from modern Akonting players like Daniel Jatta.

I do think some tunes indeed carry preserved ideas, rhythms, etc. I haven't played them all but I've played around with stuff like "Injun Rubber Overcoat" and "Pitch Burgundy Plaster" where they sound unlike any kind European music.

I also like to remind myself that by the time Stroke Style was codified (1850s), the banjo had had ~200yrs of evolution in the Caribbean and ~100 in North America. That's a lot of time mixing with European music.

I attended a lecture on Saturday by Earl White. He started with a clip of Daniel Jatta playing the Akonting...and ended with a video of Dink Roberts playing a 5-string clawhammer tune. I was amazed how similar they were! Great bookends to a good lecture.

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