The Old-Time Herald Volume 13, Number 7

Attic
“Not enough to hurt my playing.”
By Paul F. Wells
collection of Paul Wells

We’ve all heard the old joke: someone asks the traditional (or jazz or bluegrass…) musician if he or she can read music. “Not enough to hurt my playing,” comes the response. Ha, ha, ha, very funny. This exchange is, of course, meant to set up the person asking the question as a pompous fool, and the musician as the hero who takes the snob down a notch or two via a bit of reverse snobbery of his or her own. Arguments for and against learning fiddle tunes from print have long consumed extensive bandwidth in Internet discussion groups and now on social media.

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