Overheard at a Music Festivalby Marty Laster
The bluegrass and classical worlds are pretty far apart in lots of ways. Here's a look at what may happen when these worlds collide. This was a (possibly fictitious) conversation between a bluegrass band and a string quartet at the "Aspen cultural exchange week." This conversation was between the fiddler (F) and 1st violinist. (V).V - Well, are we ready for the downbeat?
F - I don't know about that, but let's kick it off.
V - ...Kick what off? Is something in the way?
F - No, but let's just rip into that old "Boil em Cabbages down"
V - Do I understand correctly that your wanting to rip into cooked vegetables implies that you would like to have a bite before we commence playing?
F - Well-I'm not keen on vegetables, but later we could try the trout that we caught in...
V - Wonderful! (interrupting with excitement) We'd love to play the "Trout Quintet" and as soon as we get the music we'll, as you might say, "dig into' it. (nervous laughter from quartet)
F - (A long silence) . . . Well, we don't know that one and it sounds fishy to me anyway (laughter and knee-slaps), but just give us the key and we'll back you up. I'll give you a set of potatoes to start.
V - No, thank you, too much starch Oh, by the way, you forgot your music stands.
F - No-we always stand when we play music.
This dysfunctional conversation went on for quite awhile and needless to say, the two ensembles never got to play anything together.Excerpts from the Classical/Bluegrass dictionary:
Unfortunately some of the conversations during this Cultural Exchange week didn't even get this far. Here's one between a bebop alto sax player (S) and an old timey fiddler (F).F - How ya doin'?
S - Hey what's up?
F - - - - -(began rosining bow)
S - - - - -(started cleaning horn)
F - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I left after 10 minutes of silence.
Of course, these days, there's more overlapping of musicians playing in different styles or at least being educated in them. Still, I had fun playing around with these stereotypes. Hope you enjoyed the comic relief.Marty Laster
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