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Piedmont Folk Legacies, Inc. (Eden, NC 27288-3244)
Greg C. Adams (Project Director: October 2008 to April 2010)
Vernacular Music Material Culture in Space and Time

Planning activities for the creation of a proof-of-concept knowledge management system to allow researchers to study the development and performance history of musical instruments, using the banjo as a test case.

Few musical instruments are more closely tied or hold greater significance to American history than the banjo. From its West African roots, to its birth in the seventeenth century Caribbean, and through its meteoric rise in nineteenth century American popular culture, the banjo is an iconic instrument whose impact is woven into the cultural fabric of the American experience. As scholars, researchers, and enthusiasts continue to discover new information about the early banjo, there is no collective location to maintain, interact with, and collectively analyze this important data. The proposed Banjo Sightings Database Project (BSD) will combine rare and widely-dispersed primary source material (circa 1650-1870) with appropriate and innovative technological applications, resulting in a system that not only catalogs information about the early banjo, but also establishes an interactive, peer-reviewed knowledge management system, allowing users to explore the early banjo.

[White paper]

Project fields:
Folklore and Folklife

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Digital Humanities

$13,889 (approved)
$13,889 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2009 – 12/31/2009