banjo

banjo, stringed musical instrument, with a body resembling a tambourine. The banjo consists of a hoop over which a skin membrane is stretched; it has a long, often fretted neck and four to nine strings, which are plucked with a pick or the fingers. Slaves brought it to America (by 1688) from W Africa, to which it may have come from Europe or Asia. It was played in minstrel shows in the 19th cent. It is used frequently in hillbilly and Southern folk music. Because of an incisive, percussive quality, it is often used as a rhythm or a solo instrument in Dixieland bands.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on banjo from Fact Monster:

  • Wilco - Wilco rock group Founded after the 1994 breakup of Uncle Tupelo and including four of that ...
  • Ralph Edmond Stanley - Stanley, Ralph Edmond Stanley, Ralph Edmond, 1927–, American bluegrass singer and banjo ...
  • Spelling Bee - Figure out which of the red words below is spelled incorrectly and type the correct spelling in the ...
  • Henry Ossawa Tanner - Tanner, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Henry Ossawa, 1859–1937, American painter, b. Pittsburgh; son of ...
  • Howard Finster - Howard Finster folk artist, Baptist preacher Born: 12/02/1916 Birthplace: Valley Head, Alabama ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Theory, Forms, and Instruments