Fiddling Around with the 10 String Symphony

As the variety show hosts used to say when introducing their net act, “and now for something completely different…”

For some its a violin, for others its a fiddle; but whichever name is used to describe the instrument has four string…most of the time. Rachel and Christian of 10 String Symphony play a five string violin to create their own unique sound.

10 String Symphony

On April 11 the duo brought that unique sound to The Sportsman’s Tavern in Buffalo, New York and chased away the dull-drums of a rainy Monday night with some fancy pickin’ and bowing.

While they perform original songs and a few cover tunes that are a mix of a variety of musical genres, 10 String Symphony’s music features a lot of unusual chords and chord progressions not found in the pop music that dominates the radio and music charts of today.

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Ten String Symphony’s music hearkens back to the earliest days of Bluegrass when musical pioneers like Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, and Earl Scruggs ruled the charts..and the radio.

The band takes inspiration for their songs form life itself; stories, novels, poetry, and even the music itself – the long frowned upon “devil chord” – the augmented 4th.

On a tour to promote their latest album – “Weight of the World”. The show featured the music from that album: “Anna Jane”, “Someone to be Good For”, “Mama, You Been on My Mind”, “I’m Not Lonesome”, “Black Eyed Suzie”, “On Christmas Eve” “Oscar’s Verdict”, “Weight of the World”, and “Shine”.

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Rachel has even written a song about her dog – “Even a Dog Has Dreams”. Christian says that Rachel’s dog is big, white, and furry.

Not only did the music itself have an old time feel, the duo used a single microphone that was designed to pick up the sound further away, similar to the microphones that radio stations used in those early days of Bluegrass.

Rachel and Christian performed music from Bob Dylan, Loudon Wainwright III the 1920’s band The Skillet Lickers, John Hartford, Towns Van Zant, and an encore by the Bluegrass pioneer himself Bill Monroe.

Ten String Symphony had no fancy electronic gear, pedal boards filled with sound effects or funky gadgets for their performance; only Rachel, Christian, two violins, and one banjo to create a night filled with interesting music far from the simplistic world of modern day pop music.


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