Sunday, February 12, 2006
No, no, no, not wankers...
But you want to know how to tell the difference between a merrywang (an oddly familiar looking instrument) and a barstool? Look no further....
Thanks to Harmonia's Big B Musical Excessories for the picture!
Obviously I've been pretty hardcore into Old Time Music, what with the new banjo and all.* But I've been into folk music in general since I was a kid -- I think the coolest thing about learning more about the Appalachian music is that it's reflecting back to my knowledge of Cape Breton folk & Scottish/Irish/British folk -- it's neat to see how it's all connected. (Doesn't hurt that one of the banjo books I got has a whole section on playing Prince Edward Island fiddle tunes on banjo!)
Here's an online radio station that plays old time music. Yay!
* Roughly speaking, "Old Time Music," or "OTM" as it's called in fancy internet banjo mailing lists, is
music that originates in the southern Appalachian region of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee but which also includes related music, for example, from Missouri, Quebec, or New England (contra). (from the rec.music.country.old-time FAQ). (Here's the Wikipedia piece on Old-Time music.) Bluegrass is an offshoot, traced back to Bill Monroe (a mandolin player & bandleader) and his Bluegrass Boys (so named 'cause Monroe was from Kentucky). Bill Monroe admitted Earl Scruggs into his band in 1945; Scruggs had worked out a rapid 3-finger banjo style that became known as "Scruggs style" and is now the main bluegrass style. Bluegrass-style banjo is often opposed to clawhammer-style banjo, which is what I'm learning to play. Clawhammer uses the thumb and the back of either the middle or index finger (you hit the string with your finger nail in a downstroke, rather than plucking upward). Clawhammer is said to be more old-timey. Of course, there's controversy & folks argue about different styles & their precursors, etc., etc., etc. I just dig the clawhammer sound. And it goes nicely with the old-time music.
jane 11:16 PM [+]