Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten had humble beginnings in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but she would go on to launch a storied musical career that spanned four decades, gaining national renown and the title of oldest woman to ever win a Grammy.
When Tom Petty arrived in Los Angeles in 1974 in search of a record deal for his band Mudcrutch, the Gainesville, Florida native found one almost immediately. While he thought he had found exactly what he was looking for in L.A., it would take years for Petty and his subsequent band, the Heartbreakers, to break […]
On December 21, 2020 the world heralds the winter solstice, the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. As the darkness lifts, the days will grow longer. Winter Solstice celebrations all over the world mark the midwinter cycle of the seasons and new beginnings. The December solstice gave rise to celebrations that can […]
In simplest terms, the harp is a plucked string instrument where the plane of the strings is perpendicular to the soundboard.
As a string musician, part of understanding your instrument and the sound you want to create includes understanding the strings you put on that instrument. From gut strings to steel core to synthetics, the composition of orchestral strings have changed through the centuries — and will continue to change as long as technology is used […]
One fateful evening, journalist and pop-music critic Eric Siblin attended a recital of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suites—an experience that set him on an epic quest to uncover the mysterious history of the entrancing compositions and their miraculous reemergence nearly 200 years later. In pursuit of his musicological obsession, Siblin would unravel three centuries of […]
The piano was invented around 1700 in Italy by harpsichord maker Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori, who worked with the Florentine Court of the Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici. Cristofori named his invention gravicèmbalo col piano e forte, which means “harpsichord with loud and soft.” It was later shortened to “fortepiano” and finally to just “piano.” […]
A brief history of banjos The banjo derives from various African instruments that arrived here via the West Indies in slavery days. The original five-string banjo had no frets, the horizontal position markers that tell the player where to place his/her left hand fingers. There are reports of slaves playing banjos on Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, […]
Do you know the history of this song, made famous by the movie Deliverance? “Dueling banjos,” (the banjo tune from the movie Deliverance) is probably the most famous and definitely one of the most popular instrumental banjo tunes ever written. It is also the most requested banjo tune by students to learn how to play. […]