April 08, 2009

Ask Pete: Lyrical pursuit edition

Victor asks "What the hell is a jug band?"

The quick answer is a band employing a jug player. Jug, singular, sorry Shank.

The longer answer is that a jug band is used to refer to groupss that also incorporate home-made instruments. Other terms are called skiffle bands, spasm bands or juke bands. They were quite popular in the 50s and early 60s. The Beatles first started out as a skiffle band.

From Wikipedia we get the rest
The eponymous jug sound is made by taking a jug (usually made of glass or stoneware) and buzzing the lips into its mouth from about an inch away. As with brass instruments, changes in pitch are controlled by altering lip tension, and an accomplished jug player could have a two octave range. The stovepipe (usually a section of tin pipe, 3" or 4" in diameter) is played in much the same manner, with the pipe rather than the jug being the resonating chamber. There is some similarity to the didgeridoo, but there is no contact between the stovepipe and the player's lips. Some jug and stovepipe players utilize throat vocalization along with lip buzzing, as with the didgeridoo.

The swooping sounds of the jug fill a musical role halfway between the trombone and sousaphone or tuba in Dixieland bands, playing mid- and lower-range harmonies in rhythm.

Posted by Pete at April 8, 2009 12:59 PM | TrackBack