This chapter introduces the banjo as a means of exploring not only the methods and motivations of contemporary instrument builders, but also as an instrument with a history as a successful agent of antimodernism, a quality that remains significant within old-time musical circles. Banjo makers who cater to this community face constraints based on this conception, made evident in reference to iconic design elements from the banjo’s past, but are also successfully using this same antimodern tendency to expand knowledge of the instrument’s earliest history. This introductory chapter also describes the research methodology the author employed and the overall organization of the book, describing each of the following chapters in some detail.
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