Since 2016 the Elkhorn Ranch has hosted a week in January inspired by the tradition of old time music where friends gather with their fiddles, guitars, banjos, mandolins, spoons for rhythm and the like around the fire, on the porch, or in the long house to make music together.
Enthusiasts of all levels are welcome to join in – bring your instrument! Small group or individual lessons take place most afternoons and the whole group enjoys a jam session after supper. Old time jams are less about working toward performance and more about the camaraderie and friendship that comes from playing together.
Our goal at the Elkhorn is to create a welcoming and relaxed space where you can enjoy a common interest or passion (for when you’re not riding or hiking). If you’ve ever dreamed of playing music with other people, this is a low-key friendly opportunity to give it a whirl!
Three wonderful instructors join us for old-time music week, providing lessons and leading the evening jam sessions:
INSTRUMENTS IN OLD-TIME MUSIC
People play a wide variety of instruments in old-time music sessions and each instrument has one or more roles in the structure.
TUNE STRUCTURES IN OLD-TIME
Old-time tunes vary greatly in rhythm and style depending on the purpose of the jam, the region the band is from, and the type of dance typical to that region. See this example of two stepping to understand how the music and dance works together
WHAT IS OLD TIME MUSIC?
Isolated communities in the Appalachian Mountains developed traditional Old Time music from dance tunes, songs, and ballads Africans and Europeans brought with them when coming to America. The fiddle from Europe and banjo from West Africa were the original instruments played in Old Time music as accompaniment at square and contra dances. The guitar, mandolin and stand-up bass made their way into the mountains around the late 19th century and are central instruments to a modern old time string band. A wide range of other instruments stringed or no can easily find a place in an old time jam session. Old time is now considered a subgenre of country music.