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The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. The membrane is typically circular, in modern forms usually made of plastic, originally of animal skin. Early forms of the instrument were fashioned by African Americans and had African antecedents.[1][2] In the 19th century, interest in the instrument was spread across the United States and United Kingdom by traveling shows of the 19th century minstrel show fad, followed by mass-production and mail-order sales, including instruction method books. The inexpensive or home-made banjo remained part of rural folk culture, but 5-string and 4-string banjos also became popular for home parlor music entertainment, college music clubs, and early 20th century jazz bands. By the early 21st century, the banjo was most frequently associated with folk, bluegrass and country music, but was also used in some rock, pop and even hip-hop music.[3] Among rock bands, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and the Grateful Dead have used the five-string banjo in some of their songs. Some famous pickers of the banjo are Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs

Quick facts: String instrument, Hornbostel–Sachs classific...
A five-string banjo
String instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.312 (resonator) or 321.314 (open-backed)
(Composite chordophone with a neck that passes diametrically through the resonator, sounded by plectrum, finger picks, or the bare fingers)
Developed18th century, United States
Sound sample

Historically, the banjo occupied a central place in Black American traditional music and rural folk culture before entering the mainstream via the minstrel shows of the 19th century.[4][5][6][7] Along with the fiddle, the banjo is a mainstay of American styles of music, such as bluegrass and old-time music. It is also very frequently used in Dixieland jazz, as well as in Caribbean genres like biguine, calypso and mento.

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