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"Fiddles rule, Banjos drool."

Nelson McGary's

Oldtime Fiddle Pages

Aren't these here desktop 'confusers' just too much fun?

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Nearly as much fun as playing fiddle music.

Finger wigglin', fulmination and frustration...

Maybe they're more alike than they are different....

Here's a collection of images, tunes, stories and links I know you will enjoy.  I also hope you get a feel for oldtime fiddle music as played here in the Ohio-Pennsyltucky area.

"They called the instrument 'the devil's box' because some thought it was sinful to play one.  Sometimes in recent years, people would be tearing down old log cabins to get at the logs and they would find hidden in the wall an old beat-up fiddle.  At first they puzzled about this, but then people explained that the man who lived there was once a fine old-time fiddler, but that in later years he had gotten religion.  In his zeal, he became convinced that he must turn his back on his old life, and especially that devil's instrument, the fiddle

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"After all, the fiddle was for good times and strong drink.  Look at the old tunes: you gave the fiddler a 'dram', and you heard tunes like 'Devil's Dream' and 'Devil in the Woodpile,' 'Hell Among the Yearlings' and 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia,' 'Hell and Scissors' and 'Hell Bound for Alabama.'  And didn't one take the rattles of a serpent-the rattlesnake-and put them in the fiddle to improve the tone? 

"The evidence was strong, and many newly saved fiddlers took their instruments and smashed them against the wall.  But others, unable to part with the heirlooms they had devoted so much of their lives to, quietly dropped them behind the walls of the cabins and kept quiet, hoping perhaps that some day in the future, in a kinder and more tolerant age, someone would find them and let them be heard again."

The Devil's Box - Masters of Southern Fiddling  Charles Wolfe

"We didn't have no special name for our music, but the people didn't want nothin' but a fiddle an' a banjo.  They didn't have no guitars nor nothin' like that.  They said they could dance as good again with just that.  And I'll still argue that with 'em.  It's a whole lot better - take a man who can play a banjo or a fiddle right there, an' you get out there an' you can do as good again dancin' as you can with these ol' guitars an' these ol' pianers an' things.  All that damn noise agoin' - half the time you can't hear your figgers - the man a-calling the music. 

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"You can take a fiddle' you kin hear ever'thing that man says. Me an' Florence quit when they started up with all them bands an' things."  -  Lawton Brooks

Foxfire 4  - Edited by Eliot Wigginton

"A leading spirit, at the time we chronicle, in the valley, was Major Dempsey Crafts, against whom the tongue of malice could maintain no other charges than that he was most sinfully and perseveringly inclined to fiddling, drinking, and practical joking--accomplishments which rendered him extremely popular throughout the reserve, and made his presence absolutely indispensable at the frolic, the hunt, and the horse-race, and house-raising."

  With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow - Joyce H. Cauthen

"All along the way of human progress there have been people in everywpe27.jpg (15141 bytes) generation who looked upon the amusements and frivolities of youth with disfavor.  Thus, the dance was thought by many good church people, and was preached from the pulpit, as the door to perdition. The melodies of its old tunes were likened to the wailing of lost souls from the shores of desolation and were believed to have been brought out in some mystic way through the violin's tones by Old Scratch himself!  Indeed, a fiddler was considered by these good folks to be a sort of Pied Piper leading his flock towards the untold horrors of "Fiddlers' Green," a place beyond Hades, both in direction and serverity of punishment."

Traditional Music of America - Ira W. Ford

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