Old World or New, Sacred or Profane

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Start

Welcome to my newly starting blog. My intent is that this blog will mostly discuss musical activities and thoughts, mostly regarding cello and amatuer music, but with occasional wanderings to other subjects. My hope is that reader comments will help me steer where this blog goes.

I started cello at age 49, after having played trombone off and on from age 13 to 40. Soon I'll post how and why I came to cello. For now, suffice it to say I certainly know, starting at this advanced age, I won't ever be playing Shostokovich or Brahms sonatas in great metropolitan concert-houses like a life-long professional. That's alright with me. I'll make myself a niche playing simple music with friends in concerts and jams. Fiddlers, guitarists, banjo players, etc, often start as adults and make highly enjoyable music within just a few years, so why not cellists? True, we can't go as fast and high, but our accompaniments can sound wonderful, and listeners find a well-executed melody on cello a special treat.

For most of the 20th century, cello, viola da gamba, and basy (a 3-stringed Eastern European version) had been largely forgotten as instruments of the working class, largely supplanted by the guitar, double bass, banjo, cittern, bouzouki, and the increased availability of the piano (once prohibitively expensive for common folk). Then in 1973, Abby Newton brought cello back into the folk world playing with the famed Putnam String County Band. In 1974 Nancy Blake began playing cello and guitar with her husband fiddler and mandolin player Norman Blake. Gradually more artists and bands brought cello into their sounds, prompting LA-based author and disc-jockey Larry Wines to proclaim 2005 The Year of the Cello (Folkworks bi-monthly newspaper, Jul/Aug 2005 issue).


Guanaco said...

Hi Terry,

You've finally taken the leap!

I added your link to the rapidly expanding list of blogging cellists!

One of my initial motivations for learning the cello was to get involved with folk music. I am really interested in reading about your activities.


robjeny said...


This is beautifully designed and a brillient idea! I'm looking forward to reading it regularly. Your comments elsewhere are always so insightful and thoughtful. You're one of the smartest people I "know" - as I always say.

Best of luck on this new venture. I'm very much enjoying your book of Celtic airs arranged for two cellos.


PinkFluffySlippers said...

Did not know you were a trombonist. You must have an affinity for bass clef.

Erin said...

Way to go Terry, glad to see your new blog. I'm looking forward to your folk-related views on cello playing.