Monday, August 24, 2009

New in Con Ref: The Guitar in American Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar Periodicals 1882-1933

The Guitar in American Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar Periodicals 1882-1933
Between 1880 and the mid-1930s, a unique musical movement grew and flourished in this country. Focused on the promotion of so-called “plectral instruments,” this movement promoted the banjo, the mandolin, and the guitar as cultivated instruments on a par with the classical violin or piano. The Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar (BMG) community consisted of instrument manufacturers, music publishers, professional teachers and composers, and amateur students. While some professional soloists achieved national recognition, the performing focus of the movement was ensemble work, with bands of banjos, mandolins and guitars ranging from quartets and quintets (modeled on the violin-family string ensembles) to festival orchestras of up to 400 players (mimicking the late romantic symphony orchestra).

The bibliography consists of two large sections. The first contains a chronological list of articles, news items, advertisements, illustrations, and photographs as well as a list of musical works for guitar published in the BMG magazines. The second section of the bibliography is a series of indices which link names and subjects to the lists. With nearly 5500 entries and over 100 pages of indices, this bibliography offers researchers access to a musical world that has been locked away on library shelves for the past century.