Friday, October 12, 2012

Fiddlesticks and Washboards

One nice thing about living in the age of YouTube is exposure to kinds of music that are hard to find otherwise. Here, for instance, is some great fiddlesticks playing:

Dewey Balfa and Tony Balfa, "J'ai eté au bal". Of course, fiddlesticks are from an era in which music was more participatory than it is today. Only have one fiddle between two people? Grab some knitting needles and you've made your fiddle a percussion instrument as well as a string instrument.

And here we have a percussion instrument you don't see often enough, the rubboard or (if you want to be fancy) vest frottoir, which is, of course, an adaptation of washboard music, and is usually played with spoons (using the handle) or bottle openers or thimbles or something similar. Whatever one might expect, the frottoir is a percussion instrument whose quality of sound is quite hard to beat:


  1. MrsDarwin4:28 PM

    I am nowhere near as accomplished a violinist as the fellow here (in fact, I blush to put "I" and "violinist" and "accomplished" in the same sentence), but I have to say that I would play with fear and trepidation if anyone were banging so close to my fingers. He doesn't even flinch. Truly, the world of music is amazing. 

  2. branemrys5:09 PM

     It does seem to take a little more trust in your fellow musicians than is usually necessary, doesn't it?


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