- Programs & Activities
Take down your fiddle, rosin up your bow and play that ol’ banjo fast or slow! Players of all ages and levels are welcome to come together in the tradition of sitting and playing old time music. Jam focuses mainly on old-time fiddle tunes from Southern Appalachia and is hosted second Tuesday of the month. Bring your guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass, or mandolin. We look forward to seeing you there! Register in advance to get on mailing list.
Group meets 9/10, 10/15, 11/12, 12/10
What is Old Time Music?
“Old-time music was the old-time name for real mountain-type folk music. Old-time music is the main foundation for bluegrass music. It is the kind of music that Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers and in fact most rural people prior to the mid nineteen twenties, were raised with. It is the old unaccompanied English ballads like Barbara Allen, new American songs like Wild Bill Jones, old fiddle tunes like Devil’s Dream, and newer banjo tunes like Cumberland Gap. It’s a rich and varied heritage of music – as rich as the roots music of any country. It was played throughout rural America but was extra strong and distinctive in the Southeast, especially in the mountains. It is sung and played on a variety of acoustic instruments including the guitar and mandolin which were newcomers to it in the early twentieth century. It used to be played by African Americans as well as Anglo, French & Scotch- Irish, etc Americans. It nearly died out in mid-century but has found new life and is being played, mostly informally, by people all over the country.” Excerpt from Mike Seegar (Originally printed in the May 1997 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited)
I. Thou shalt never forsake the beat.
II. Thou shalt arrange thyselves in a circle so that thou mayest hear and see the other musicians. Thou shalt listen with thine ears and attampt to play in accord with the group; also open thine eyes betimes to look about thee, lest there be some sign someone is endeavoring to send thee. Thou shalt play softly when someone lifteth their voice in song, when paying harmony, and when thou knowest not what thee is doing.
III. Thou shalt play in tune. Tune thine instruments well and often with thine electric tuner, lest the sounds emanating from them be unclean.
IV. Thou shalt commence and also cease playing each tune together as one, so that the noise ye make be a joyful noise, and not a heinous tinkling that goeth forth in fits and starts, for that is unclean, and an abomination. Whensoever a musician sticketh forth his foot as though he be afflicted with a cramp in the fatted calf, thou must complete the rest of that verse, and then cease, unless someone else sticketh forth both feet making the sign of a V. This means ‘veto’, or perhaps V-Toe, verily, it vetos the command to cease; thou mayest continue.
V. Thou shalt stick forth thine own foot or else lift up thy voice crying “This is it !” or “Last time” if thou hast been the one to begin the tune, and it has been played sufficient times over. If the one who began a tune endeth it not by such a sign, then the tune will just go on and on like the Old Testament, until the listeners moan, “Hark. It all soundeth the same.”
VI. Thou shalt concentrate and thou shalt not confound the music by mixing up the A part and the B part. Most tunes, but not all, proceedeth according to the ancient rule, “AABB”. But if thou sinneth in that regard, or make any mistake that is unclean, thou mayest atone not by ceasing to play, but by reentering the tune in the proper place and playing on.
VII. Thou shalt be ever mindful of the key the banjo be tuned in, and play many tunes in that key, for the banjo is but a lowly instrument, which must needs be re-tuned each time there is a key change.
VIII. Thou shalt not speed up or slow down when playing a tune, for that is an abomination.
IX. Thou shalt not, by thine own self, commence noodling off on a tune the other musicians know not, unless asked, or unless thou art teaching that tune, for it is an abomination, and the other musicians will not hold thee guiltless, and thall take thee off their contact lists even unto the third and fourth generation.
X. Thou shalt have fun.