The definitions below are from the Collins English Dictionary, third edition 1991 :-
1. “Of the highest order, especially in art, music or literature 2. “Serving as a standard or model of it’s kind; definitive” 3. “Adhering to an established set of rules or principles in the Arts or Sciences” 4. “Characterised by simplicity, balance, regularity and purity of form” 5. “Of lasting influence or significance” 6. “Continually in fashion because of it’s simple and basic style” 7. “An author, artist or work of art of the highest excellence”
8. “A creation or work considered as definitive”
1. “A stringed instrument with a long neck (usually fretted) and a circular drum like body overlaid with parchment, plucked with the fingers or a plectrum” 2. “Any banjo-shaped object, esp. a frying pan” * 3. “A long handled shovel with a wide blade” *
* Some you win, some you lose.
The Classic Banjo “Because of the popularity of folk and country music, most people today are familiar with the old-timey or bluegrass methods of playing the five string banjo. There is, however, a style of finger-played banjo, the so called “classic” style, that is currently not so well known, despite the fact that the best practitioners of this approach have achieved an unparalleled degree of virtuosity. The artist on this record, William J. Ball is one of the most highly regarded performers in this style ....”
Classic Banjo first became popular in the United States and Britain at the time of the American Civil war. By the 1880’s the style had become dominant in urban areas, eclipsing the older “frailing” or “thimble” style. The technique employed is similar to that of the classical guitar and involves plucking with the bare fingers upon gut strings (nylon nowadays). Hundreds of early cylinder and disc recordings were devoted to classic banjo playing, including the stellar performances of the Americans Vess L. Ossman and Fred Van Eps and the Englishman Olly Oakley. Despite the boost that the early recording industry gave to classic banjo, the style declined in popularity after the First World War with the emergence of the large dance bands. These used the plectrum-played four-string banjo instead of the five-string banjo”.
Sleeve notes by Eli Kaufman, from the LP “A Banjo Galaxy”