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The Secret Of The Banjo's Twang

The Secret Of The Banjo’s Twang Revealed By Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist

Acoustic experts have long puzzled over the origin of the banjo’s distinctive metallic timbre. Now a leading theoretical physicist has figured it out

The banjo is a stringed instrument that produces a distinctive metallic sound often associated with country, folk and bluegrass music. One of the most famous examples is the duelling banjos scene in the film Deliverance which clearly shows the difference in the sound produced by a banjo and a guitar.

Bill Keith: IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award

Bill Keith's Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association deserves a separate post of its own, I think.

Bill is best known for developing the “melodic style” of banjo playing, the most important and widely used extension of Earl Scruggs’ three-finger banjo technique. Melodic banjo playing uses ingeniously coordinated right- and left-hand fingerings to allow the player to execute fast scales and scale-based passages smoothly and efficiently. Fifty years later, banjo pickers are still playing licks that Bill devised, and melodic banjo playing is still referred to as “Keith style.” I think it’s fair to say that without Bill to show the way, we would not have the music of Ben Eldridge, Courtney Johnson, John Hartford, Alan Munde, Tony Trischka, Béla Fleck, Scott Vestal, Jens Kruger, Alison Brown, Noam Pikelny, and many others. Bluegrass music would be much the poorer without Bill’s contributions and musical legacy.

Arlington Street Fair: 2014

This marks the fourth year that the HVBA will have a presence at the Arlington Street Fair. Last year we began at 11:30 with an open jam. We will continue that tradition this year and the bands will begin playing at 12:30.

Lonely Heartstring Band House Concert

Where: 42 Haggerty Hill Road-Rhinebeck, NY
When: Aug 15 @ 7:30pm
Tickets: Members/$12 - Non-Members/$15

Back by popular demand!

Way back in December, the Lonely Hearts String Band gave a concert to sixty very happy people at Lyn Rosen's house in Rhinebeck, NY. The audience was happy, LHB was happy, and Lyn really wanted them to come back again. Her wish has come true!!!

This concert is in a beautiful home with great acoustics. However, it is limited to the first 60 people who purchase the tickets. If you do not wish to use PayPal, please call 845.475.8830 or send your check, made out to HVBA, to:

Spotlight on Fred Robbins

The Hudson Valley bluegrass Association has a membership rich in talent. As one would expect in a musical organization, there is a healthy selection of individual musicians, member bands and engaged acoustic music aficionados. As far as uniqueness however one member's contributions truly stand out – Fred Robbins has been active as a music archivist, with a particular emphasis on bluegrass, since the mid-1960s. Fred has produced as well as collected a fantastic selection of photos, videos, and audio documenting the acoustic music activities as they happened, particularly in the tri-state and Hudson Valley areas.

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