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Help: Spoons, history of ???

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Les B 07 Apr 01 - 06:00 PM
Margo 07 Apr 01 - 10:05 PM
wildlone 08 Apr 01 - 03:43 PM
Doctor John 08 Apr 01 - 04:19 PM
Les B 08 Apr 01 - 04:59 PM
Liz the Squeak 08 Apr 01 - 05:38 PM
Grab 09 Apr 01 - 08:50 AM
Bob Bolton 09 Apr 01 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Louisda 09 Apr 01 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,Louisda 09 Apr 01 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,Louisa 09 Apr 01 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Les B 09 Apr 01 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Abby the Spoon Lady 28 Apr 11 - 05:45 PM
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Subject: Spoons, history of ???
From: Les B
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 06:00 PM

Some local musicians have been discussing the authenticity of playing spoons for Lewis & Clark era music - ie, 1800 on.

I saw in one of the Civil War threads, here at Mudcat, that spoons weren't played at that time.

Can anyone point me to an authoritative source on their history ? Inquisitive percussionists want to know.


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: Margo
Date: 07 Apr 01 - 10:05 PM

I don't know, but what about runcible spoons?

run·ci·ble spoon (r¾n"s…-b…l) n. A three-pronged fork, such as a pickle fork, curved like a spoon and having a cutting edge. [Coined by Edward Lear, perhaps alteration of rounceval, big woman, large pea, wart, monster, huge, from Roncevaux (Roncesvalles), site where giant bones were found.]

I know, a digression. But why not? People made do with what they had back then. By the way, the runcible spoon didn't last long: too many people cutting their mouths. Spork works better... Margo


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: wildlone
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 03:43 PM

Spoons have been around for a long time, the romans used them but I dont know if they used them for music or not.
dave, who collects silver inc spoons.


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: Doctor John
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 04:19 PM

See past and current copies of Private Eyes where intellectuals such as Paul McCartney talk about spoons. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: Les B
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 04:59 PM

One would think spoons might have been played since their invention, but perhaps it wasn't until they became a relatively common (read cheap) item that they were appropriated for a percussive utensil.

I wonder if early spoons were too soft to withstand the beating. They may have flattened out too quickly.

Also, with the availability of "bones" from cows, horses, sheep, pigs, etc. (probably not chickens), it may have seemed extravagent to use household goods made of more expensive metal ???


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 08 Apr 01 - 05:38 PM

My spoons flattened out really easily, so it's still a recurring problem. I suspect that spoons were used because the bend in them had a similar shape to knackers. Knackers sound best and are easily held because they are curved. I play knackers like they were spoons, it works a lot better because I don't have the wrist action to make them sound when playing them hanging down. Large animal ribs made the best knackers. I think they were named for the noise, rather than anything else.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: Grab
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 08:50 AM

Les, I'd guess more of a problem would be the material. Early spoons would be wood or bone - silver or gold would be options for the rich, but they wouldn't be using them for percussion! When was stainless steel discovered? cos I doubt you'd see steel cutlery b4 then, and cutlery made from other metals wouldn't last well.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 09:31 AM

G'day Grab/Graham,

Brierley (?) invented cutlery stainless early 20th century ... but epns was common substitute for expensive (and softer) silver from early 19th century. Earlier (eg mercury amalgam) plating methods have been around for centuries but I doubt that any spoons would have been seen as cheap enough for musical accompaniment until the Industrial reevolution brought mass production.

Bones, on the other hand were more common then than now and a long history (particularly in England / UK) goes back millennia. I did see a study that suggested Africans appear to play bones only in areas colonised by England and it is only those from these areas that took bones playing to America. I have not seen the detailed breakup, so I don't knpow how well that is proven

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: GUEST,Louisda
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 11:46 AM


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: GUEST,Louisda
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 11:46 AM


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: GUEST,Louisa
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 11:52 AM

whoops sorry about that.

I don't know much about spoons but....my dad Len Davies was well known on the English festival scene for playing and teaching the bones.

He did own some bone bones but most of his sets were made of tone woods like Siamese rosewood. His own research into the history of bones revealed that the instrument was first played in Egypt. Egyptian vases dated 2000 BC depict women playing the bones and the British Museoun has some early bones (or clappers) in their Egyptian section. While bones are popular in Ireland they probably didn't originate there.


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 01:37 PM

Complicating this inquiry into the history of spoons is the fact that early day spoons - 1800's era - were also made of horn or wood, which means they could have been used then ?!?


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Subject: RE: Help: Spoons, history of ???
From: GUEST,Abby the Spoon Lady
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 05:45 PM

SPOONOLOGY – A HISTORY OF SPOON PLAYING

In America people usually associate the playing of spoons with the image of an old man on his front porch slapping a pair of spoons between his knee and his hand. Although this mental image is not completely inaccurate, there is much more to spoon playing than that. Another image that folks seem to attribute to spoon players is that of the guy or gal picking up a pair of spoons from behind the bar or from the kitchen cabinet to play along with the band playing at a venue or a house show, and butchering the timing and rhythm. That being said, please note that when given the right amount of respect and practice, spoons can actually become a complex rhythm instrument that compliments the music. Practice makes perfect.

There have been spoon players since before written history. Prehistoric rock drawings and pottery as early as the 4th millennium depict dancing figures with curved blades in their hands. Spoons belong to a class of instrument called concussion idiophone. This general class of instruments includes the oldest instruments known to man. Spoons themselves are prehistoric, and you can say that there have been spoon players since around the invention of the spoon.

Many ancient cultures played spoons. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all played spoons and a variation of the spoons called the rattle bones or the rhythm bones. Rhythm bones are essentially a pair or set of three bones, usually sheep and cattle bones, placed in the hand parallel to the palm with the convex sides facing each other. The bones are placed between each finger, with one finger being used like a hinge, and the moving one's wrist so that in such a way that the bones hit each other. Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all played spoons and bones in their battle marches and some even speculate that human bones were used. During the crusades, when these armies were marching the clicking or the bones and spoons meant to their enemy that "the pagans were coming" and it was time to prepare for battle, or to even run and hide.

Spoons play a part in many different cultures. The Irish, French-Canadian, Turkish, Russian and Vietnamese all played spoons as a part of their traditional music heritage. In America spoons are associated with minstrels, jug bands, and folk music.

Notable spoon players are Artis the Spoonman, Sam Spoons, Deb "Spoons" Perry, David Holt, and Tran Quang Hai. Keeping these ancient art forms is important to not only our own culture, but to the world. The playing of spoons is keeping these ancient traditions alive, and forming new ones.

Happy clicking. - ABBY THE SPOON LADY


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