Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Appalachian Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Lee Bidgood

Committee Members

Roy Andrade, Ted Olson


David Harrison Macon (1870-1952) is often memorialized for his showmanship rather than his banjo playing. To compartmentalize such a significant American musician yields a wide gap within scholarship about Macon, country music history and the banjo. Macon’s banjo playing, documented through over two-hundred and fifty recordings made between the 1920s and 1950s, represents an array of cultures, eras, ethnicities, and styles all preserved in the repertoire of one of the most prolific country musicians of the 20th century. This study reveals Macon’s playing by considering such factors as influences that preceded his professional tenure, identifying elements within his playing from specific stylistic origins, and by technically notating selections from Macon’s canon that represent those influences. To understand the instrumental playing of one of early country music’s most important figures broadens understanding of banjo influences from the nineteenth century which laid the foundation for the instrument’s renaissance in the twentieth century.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.