The banjo is a four-, five- or (occasionally) six-stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity as a resonator. The membrane is typically a piece of animal skin or plastic, and the frame is typically circular. Simpler forms of the instrument were fashioned by Africans in Colonial America, adapted from several African instruments of similar design.
The banjo is frequently associated with country, folk, Irish traditional and bluegrass music. Historically, the banjo occupied a central place in African American traditional music, before becoming popular in the minstrel shows of the 19th century. In fact, slaves were both influenced by and influenced the early development of the music, which became country and bluegrass, particularly in regards to the innovation of musical techniques for both the banjo and fiddle. The banjo, with the fiddle, is a mainstay of American old-time music.