Old time > Bluegrass

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New topic Old time > Bluegrass

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:55 am

Maybe not an exact analogy. But old time came before bluegrass. Musicians should be able to tell what are the differences, Perhaps considering how that evolved, we can discern and point out what is the "old time" of Christian Harmony.
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New topic Dwight Diller has some thoughts

Post by D Wiley on Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:14 pm

snip
In oldtime music the tradition has not been lost, it may be resisting change but it has not been displaced, it is not a modern music. I for one celebrate the fact that oldtime music is not bluegrass or dawg music or new grass or even claw grass (which sounds like an agricultural disease or killer weed). Oldtime works from different tonal centers, it uses open tunings and harmonic resonant overtones and incidentals, it mixes non-tempered scales with harmonization or it’s completely modal. Compared to bluegrass or country western its largely dance centered and not song centered, many of its songs are verses to dance tunes, and most of its songs were meant for solo and unaccompanied performance in their oldest form. It is often not strictly symmetrical in its rhythms; a-rhythmic fiddle and banjo tunes are common particularly in West Virginia and Kentucky. Drones, bowed or fifth stringed, are central and not incidental to the music.

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New topic Re: Old time > Bluegrass

Post by Scott Swanton on Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:42 pm

I agree completely with this man,,, Bluegrass is a product of the radio ,,not porches or knees ! the parallel between Christian Harmony and Sacred Harp and Gospel is strong
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New topic Re: Old time > Bluegrass

Post by Liz Shaw on Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:47 pm

My father used to rein in young singers who were leading the first time to not "bluegrass it!" I think his meaning of that admonition was don't run over the tune and the words so quickly so that you can't think about the words or enjoy the unique/haunting harmonies.

Let's face it, a lot of musical rules of harmony are stretched quite a bit with some of the Christian Harmony "chords" that are struck between the four parts. For my own brain, I need a few seconds to hear them, feel them and enjoy them. I haven't spent a lot of time comparing the actual chordal structure of Sacred Harp to Christian Harmony, but I'd like to do that at some point. Do they differ in such a way that the need to "hang on" to a particular chord is more pronounced in Christian Harmony? Does the brain need longer to savor/process them? I do believe that the more gospel oriented chords found in some of the additions to the "black book" are not as blatantly ear catching, and I would be so bold to say that the chords in the earlier Christian Harmony can even border on dissonance! I like drinking them in and feeling the tension that they create!

Anyone out there with a music theory degree want to take this on? I just know enough to be dangerous, and would not attempt to analyze it from a theoretical perspective, but my money is on the "enjoyment" of some of the less than conventional intervals and chord structures contributing to the Blue Ridge Christian Harmony style to be slower! Maybe in the Blue Ridge Mountains we just like the tension and suspension more, and that could even be a cultural preference.

I'll try to grab my book soon and give some examples of what I'm talking about!





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New topic Re: Old time > Bluegrass

Post by D Wiley on Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:43 am

Scott Swanton wrote:I agree completely with this man,,, Bluegrass is a product of the radio ,,not porches or knees ! the parallel between Christian Harmony and Sacred Harp and Gospel is strong

One of Bob Dylan's very early songs is about his days in NYC. A fellow at the place he was playing at told him "you sound like a hillbilly. We want folk singers here."

Look at what the Kingston Trio did to The Ballad of Tom Dula to make it a commercial success.

I am very interested in the influence of radio.
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New topic Re: Old time > Bluegrass

Post by D Wiley on Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:45 pm

Liz Shaw wrote:My father used to rein in young singers who were leading the first time to not "bluegrass it!" I think his meaning of that admonition was don't run over the tune and the words so quickly so that you can't think about the words or enjoy the unique/haunting harmonies.
 
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Here is an example where the slower tempo (and fortuitous placement of recording device) allows one to hear the treble part very well. It actually makes the song new, for me.

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New topic Re: Old time > Bluegrass

Post by Liz Shaw on Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:01 pm

What an excellent example of "reigning" in the tempo. I have heard this particular song done way too fast, and am guilty myself of getting a little energetic on it. What a nice blend of voices! Was this from yesterday at the Marshall, NC singing? And if so, can you make me feel ANY worse for not being able to be there? lol

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New topic Re: Old time > Bluegrass

Post by D Wiley on Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:06 pm

It is from the Dec 5 singing at Marshall. It's funny...the recordings sound better (to me) that what I was hearing while actually singing. I placed my recorder at the corner between the leads and trebles. That was a good class. Not naming any names but I have a couple of guys in mind who could have beefef up the tenor section. They know who they are.
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