With its roots in the popular music of the late 19th century, the polkas, marches, schottisches, cakewalks and rags infused with all the optimism of the age, classic banjo music peaked in popularity between 1900 and 1920.
By the time William was receiving his first lessons from his father Sydney, musical fashion had moved on. With the advent of the dance bands in the 20’s it was the plectrum and tenor banjos, with that incisive cut and extra volume of sound that supplied that distinctive banjo ‘twang’ and which in turn would become “old hat” when the guitar became the rhythm instrument of choice.
In England and America groups of enthusiasts, full of admiration and affection for the compositions of the great banjoists, Joe Morley, Emile Grimshaw, Paul Eno, Frank Lawes, Alfred Cammeyer and a host of others play their music to this day.
William J. Ball did everything he could to keep this wonderful music alive, achieving a degree of understanding, musicality and virtuosity that may never be equalled. Williams many recordings and concerts showed the world how the Classic Banjo should be played and now serve as a source of inspiration to all of us who love the sound of the instrument and its music.