Banjo and the Evolution of American Music

1422 Words Jan 12th, 2018 6 Pages
Indeed, it is not only symbolic of the evolution of American music, but also of the way in which cultural influences and relationships have evolved since the country was young. When the historical roots and subsequent evolution of this instrument are examined, it becomes clear that it has become an inherent part of the history and culture of the country. From its origins as an imported African instrument, the banjo has evolved to become representative of not only intercultural communication and tolerance, but also of liberation and freedom. The original banjo is said to have evolved from an instrument brought to the United States by African slaves. Because they were not allowed to play drums, the Africans who were brought to the United States as slaves created instruments from a calabash gourd, from which they cut away the top third. The hole would be covered with ground hog hide, goat skin, or cat skin that was secured by copper tacks or nails. The attached wooden neck then held three or four strings. Thee strings were sometime made of horsehair that was twisted and waxed. The strings could also be made of gut, twine, hemp fiber, or other available materials ("The Banjo: Our American Heritage"). The result was known as banzas, banjars, banias, or bangoes. The instrument therefore had relatively humble beginnings in a sector of American society that was considered by many to…