Official music page and soapbox of Matt Snell

Monday, 19 August 2013

Writing and Playing New Songs in the Old-Time Tradition: Peterborough Folk Fest Workshop


On the surface, old-time music is easy. You only need to know three chords in one or two keys, the solos aren't fancy, and a creaky singing voice is an asset. Anyone who sits in with an old-time band for the first time, though, will realize it takes a lot of subtlety to get the right feel. How do contemporary musicians engage with the music without being hackneyed? Many of the songs we play were written by people in a different country and a different era; cliches abound. How do you keep the music fresh, without betraying what made the source material so great? Can we write our own songs in the same spirit?

I've thought a lot about this, and on August 24 at the Peterborough Folk Festival, I'll be hosting a workshop on the subject. I'll bring my own ideas and examples, but I'd like to hear your take, too. Bring an instrument and a song you've written in the old-time tradition, or a classic tune you're working on. We'll be in Nicholl's Oval Park (725 Armour Rd), at the top of the hill. Start time is 2:00 pm.

And oh yeah - there'll also be tons of incredible music all day. The Folk Fest is a great way to cap off the summer, so don't miss it!

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