29 Old Time Music

The original Old Time Music instruments were the Fiddle and Banjo. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, other stringed instruments began to be added to the fiddle-banjo duo; these included the guitar, mandolin, and double bass (or washtub bass), which provided chordal and bass line accompaniment (or occasionally melody also). This, along with a dobro, or resonator guitar, is also considered to be 'standard' bluegrass instrumentation, but old-time music tends to focus on sparser instrumentation and arrangements than bluegrass. Such an assemblage, of whatever instrumentation, became known simply as a "string band." Occasionally the cello, piano, hammered dulcimer, Appalachian dulcimer, tenor banjo, tenor guitar, mouth bow, or other instruments have been used, as well as such non-string instruments as the jug, harmonica, Jew's harp, concertina, accordion, washboard, spoons, or bones.


The original Old Time Music instruments were the Fiddle playing the melody  and the Banjo playing the rhythm.


The addition of Bones made the rhythm more pronounced.

The Bone Player by William Sidney Mount, 1856. Bones players appeared in early 19th century Minstrel shows. Early bones were made from actual animal rib bones, but now are often made of wood or other material.


The Mouth Bow complemented the Banjo. The Mouth Bow and Banjo are of African origin.