Music as Communication

Marc Bristol's column on homegrown music involves musings about the importance of music as a form of communication.


| July/August 1978



Music

Marc Bristol and other Washington State grassroots musicians wail away on a gutbucket, washboard and jug!


PHOTO: TOM ALLEN

Even homesteaders need to relax and enjoy themselves from time to time, right? And almost everybody these days wants to cut his or her cost of living. So how about a little do-it-yourself entertainment? 

And that's what this column is all about. Down-home music that you can make . . . and the instruments (which, in some cases, you can also make!) to play that music on. 

If you've taken any of the suggestions I made in my two previous columns, you have by now [1] made a gut bucket or other musical instrument, [2] acquired some kind of instrument at a bargain price or for nothing at all, or [3] discovered that you were born with a fiddle, banjo, guitar, or whatever already to your name.

In short, the time has now come for us to start thinkin' about what you're going to do with your new (old) musicmaker. Or, perhaps, the question is even more basic than that: How are you — instrument or not — going to get started a'pickin' and a'grinnin' with all the other folks who've already plunged into homegrown music? Where are you going to begin? What's your first step going to be?

Music Communicates

Well, I don't think there's much of any way for anyone to go wrong in this area of human activity. Not if he or she starts right out thinking of playing music together with one or more other people as a community experience. Community as in "communication." Or, to turn it the other way 'round: Perhaps "communication" — whatever form the act may take — can be defined as "creating community." And, as should be apparent to the readers of this column by this time, I'm happiest when I can do my "community creating" by performing the act of music with some other down-home pickers and singers.

Furthermore, as I've indicated before in this column, I have very definite feelings about the right way and the wrong way for an individual to prepare him — or herself to commit the act of makin' music with others.





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