Instruments

Long ago in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the fiddle and banjo were the go-to instruments for dances and at-home music making. In time, the guitar joined the fiddle and banjo in what became, and still is, the basic old-time string band configuration. In bluegrass music the mandolin joins the band, sometimes in place of the fiddle. In some settings, other instruments like the dulcimer, piano, and steel guitar play their own distinctive

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Jam Session Etiquette

Mountain music jams can be found throughout the Blue Ridge, at coffeehouses, pubs, stores, festival grounds, and many other venues. Be sure to search our events calendar for jam sessions in your area.

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Learning to Play

Traditional musicians in the North Carolina mountains and foothills often say that they learned “knee to knee” with their musical mentors. Rather than relying on sheet music, scales, and other methods of formal instruction, they learn by ear—by listening and watching, usually in a one-on-one setting with a more experienced musician. That method of learning is also found in group settings throughout the mountains. Whether you

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Music and Dance Styles

Mountain music isn’t a single form of music, but a family of related styles, each influencing and enriching the others. Following the links below to learn about the music and related dance styles that are traditional in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Traditional Artist Directory

By visiting the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s Traditional Artist Directory, you can learn more about the lives and careers of many of the remarkable musicians mentioned on this site. The Traditional Artist Directory is also the place to learn about the region’s outstanding craftspeople—quilters, carvers, potters, blacksmiths, and many others—and the men and women who are carrying on mountain heritage in such

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