Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Note on Medicine Show Music

sawI always try to include a little music in my shows. The other day I won a cornet in a game of chance. I’m not sure what a cornet is, but if I can’t find somebody to play it, I know a fellow who says he can use it in his still.

At that same card game, another fellow tried to use his accordian as collateral for a bet. It has been my experience that the sound of air escaping from an accordian is best experienced in late winter, when firewood is running low. History records that the gallant defenders of the Alamo held that fort for 13 days against over 2,000 Mexican soldiers led by General Santa Anna. It is a little-known fact that the primary reason they were able to hold out for so long was because the defenders had an accordian and cotton wool to stick in their ears, and Santa Anna’s men did not. For these and similar reasons neither I nor my fellow gamblers would accept the accordianist’s offer. He had to scale up if he wanted to draw, but no one liked his pitch and he finally folded.

Usually I can find a fiddler to liven up my presentation, but lately I’ve been considering something more exotic, like a musical saw. It sounds like a fiddle, but unlike a fiddle you can defend yourself with it. (There is no defense for accordian music, but at least if you are holding a saw, no one will object out loud.)

copyright ©2010 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

The art form of playing music on a saw is making a comeback today - every year in New York City there is a musical saw festival, with performers from all over the world. This is the festival's website: - there is a 'videos' page with lots of footage from past festivals.