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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
Since its introduction to Hawai‘i in 1879, the ‘ukulele has been many things: a symbol of an island paradise; a tool of political protest; an instrument central to a rich musical culture; a musical joke; a highly sought-after collectible; a cheap airport souvenir; a lucrative industry; and the product of a remarkable synthesis of western […]
A Making Music exclusive An unknown, never-performed, and never-recorded work for string quartet composed by Leonard Bernstein — perhaps the most talented and successful classical musician in American history — later this year will have its world premiere at Tanglewood, the music venue that had a 50-year association/connection to the famed conductor, composer, musician, and […]