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'Musical Instrument Makers of America'

McGrath of Harlow 02 Jan 03 - 04:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 03 - 07:07 AM
Dharmabum 03 Jan 03 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,old head 03 Jan 03 - 11:37 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 03 - 07:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jan 03 - 01:00 PM
RiGGy 04 Jan 03 - 02:18 PM
Dharmabum 04 Jan 03 - 03:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jan 03 - 03:44 PM
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Subject: 'Musical Instrument Makers of America'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jan 03 - 04:19 PM

I've just been given an amazing book as a New Year's present. "Heart & Hands - Musical Instrument Makers of America. Here's a link to a website about it, and the Smithsonian Exhibition it relates too.

We found it yesterday in a remaindered bookshop, where for some reason they seem to have a bunch of imported copies, all for £4.99 - though I see from the site it was published at $39.95. I never understand how remaindered books work, and how they pick them. In this case probably because it's a pretty sizeable volume, and whoever imported them had no uimagination about how to find people who'd give their right arm to own them. My wife said she could have kicked herself for not having spotted it for Christmas, and insisted I had it for New Year.

But as I said, it's amazing, both the remarkable pictures and the quotes, which leap off the page. Very Mudcattish (the good side of Mudcat). And the faces all tend to look familiar too, though I didn't recognise any.

Here are a few quotes:

The older the instrument the better it gets...There's not much to life unless, you know, you can not go all intent on how much money you can make, or whatever you want to do, but it doesn't mean a whole lot unless you can pick up something important and give back to share...(Tom Morgan, Tennessee)

I make musical spoons and people pick them up at a show and you know, tap'em two or three times on their leg and they'll go "Well, I just don't have any rhythm." And I'll lean over real quiet and say "Your heart's beatin' i'n it?" (Robert Frito Seven, S=North Carolina)

I made one for an old man - he knew the tone he wanted, and tried to explain it to me, and I thought I had it, but I didn't know whether I understood what he was looking for in tone. OK, he came to get the fiddle and he sat down, my gosh, and he cried when he played it. And his wife was patting him on the back the whole time. And he treasured that. And that's the joy of it - it is to give something to someone that they can appreciate. (Audrey Hash Ham, North Carolina.)

Anyway I think that if, with all the idiocy likely to be going around the next few months, if I ever start feeling angry about the way America sometimes seems to be, I'll have another look through this book to remind me of the other side. Visit that site I linked to!, and see what I'm talking about.

There's one other quote in the introduction that made me think about the Mudcat:

"It is said that where there is music, there can be no evil; certainly the experience of our travels confirmed this truth. Fine craftsmanship knows no political, religious, economic or color consensus. As artistic and creative ability has no boundaries, only music is the common thread interwoven from one artisan to another. It is a song sung in many keys, in different dialects, on different instruments. It is a shared passion for music with the art of the craft."


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Subject: RE: 'Musical Instrument Makers of America'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 03 - 07:07 AM

I see the same people are working on a similar project for Musical Instrument Makers of China. That should be fun. (The American book includes a few phoos of people who make Chinese instruments - they look fascinating.)


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Subject: RE: 'Musical Instrument Makers of America'
From: Dharmabum
Date: 03 Jan 03 - 07:24 AM

Thanks McGrath,
It looks like a very interesting read.
I just ordered a used one from Amazon for considerably less than the list price.
Can't wait to get it.

      DB.


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Subject: RE: 'Musical Instrument Makers of America'
From: GUEST,old head
Date: 03 Jan 03 - 11:37 AM

OLD RIDDLE; when i was alive,i never spoke. now that i am dead i sing.WHAT AM I?


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Subject: RE: 'Musical Instrument Makers of America'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 03 - 07:26 PM

I'd have thought it'd be some kind of musical instrument. A didgeridoo?


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Subject: RE: 'Musical Instrument Makers of America'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 03 - 01:00 PM

Or it might be a kettle.


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Subject: RE: 'Musical Instrument Makers of America'
From: RiGGy
Date: 04 Jan 03 - 02:18 PM

Fiddle, as made famous in the Laurie Lewis song....

Riggy


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Subject: RE: 'Musical Instrument Makers of America'
From: Dharmabum
Date: 04 Jan 03 - 03:34 PM

Tree.

DB.


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Subject: RE: 'Musical Instrument Makers of America'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 03 - 03:44 PM

Let's have the Laurie Lewis song, please.

The point about the didge as an answer is that it really is a dead tree, with no trimmings such as strings, which a fidddle would need before it could sing.

In fact isn't it true that the best didges aren't those portable ones we see around the festival, but consist if holllow tree trunks that are far too massive to move around, so the session takes place where the tree fell? Ent music.

If the people who did the "Musical Instrument Makers of America" ever get round to producing "Musical Instrument Makers of Australia" no doubt they'll sort out if that's the truth.


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