Cover

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Half Title, Series Info, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword

Tony Trischka

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pp. vii-x

Sometime in the mid-1980s, I received a photo in the mail from someone in Czechoslovakia. It was a posed picture of some twenty-five (or perhaps more) Czech banjoists at a rural gathering. The idea that that many five-stringers existed in one place at one time in a communist country was surprising, to put it mildly. ...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xx

The simple, repeated notes of the shuffle allow a fiddler to set a tempo, call other musicians to order, signal to dancers, and set the tone for the music to come. As a fiddler, I am more used to playing this gesture than talking about it, but as an ethnomusicologist, I am drawn to consider the frame in which the interactive experience of music making starts. ...

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1. Place, Meaning, Community, and In-Betweenness

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pp. 1-20

In May 2003 I was most of the way through my first year of fieldwork, living in the Czech Republic and seeking connections with musicians and other participants in bluegrass music. A contact I had recently made with banjoist and luthier Zdeněk Roh led me to the village of Lhotka u Telče, where I took part in a weekend dílna (workshop) along with dozens ...

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2. Czech Bluegrass Histories and Backgrounds

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pp. 21-51

Czech bluegrass, while part of a globalized discourse on bluegrass music, is nevertheless uniquely Czech. Making this statement has sometimes gotten me in trouble with Czech bluegrassers, as the following anecdote shows. ...

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3. Making Bluegrass at Home, Abroad, and In Between

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pp. 52-68

When I met Zdeněk Roh and the band Roll’s Boys at the Berlin airport on May 17, 2006, it marked the beginning of that summer’s “field” adventure. I’ve gotten used to the “in-between” of air transit and airports, and the blur of the world as I am in the process of flying from the New World to the Old. In the course of my many trips to and from the Czech Republic, ...

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4. Learning and Playing Americanness on the Fiddle

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pp. 69-98

In August 2007 I was freshly returned to the Czech Republic for a year of music, interviews, and learning from Czech bluegrassers. On arrival I had phoned Zdeněk Roh. He immediately invited me to accompany his family on their yearly vacation trip to the Šumava mountains along the border with Germany, where we would share a rented cottage with a group of musician friends. ...

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5. Singing Truth, Fidelity, and Play in Czech Bluegrass Gospel

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pp. 99-118

On the evening of November 13, 2007, the members of Reliéf were nearing the end of their second set of songs at the downtown Prague club Balbínova Poetická Hospůdka, or as it is nicknamed, the Balbínka.1 The group had so far displayed virtuosity through trading instrumental breaks on mandolin, guitar, banjo, and resophonic slide guitar over the steady beat of the bass. ...

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A Tag: America/Amerika

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pp. 119-124

While some performances of bluegrass songs end with an abrupt chop on the final tonic chord, damping the resonance of the instruments, other endings allow the continuing ringing strings to fade the song out. Often a vocal number will end on the song’s chorus, with a repetition of the last line. These “tag” lines are often the title of the song, and, hanging in the air at the end of a performance, ...

Notes on Language

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pp. 125-130

Notes

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pp. 131-140

Glossary of Czech Terms

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pp. 141-142

References

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pp. 143-152

Recommended Media

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pp. 153-160

Index

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pp. 161-168

About the Author

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Further Series Titles

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