Spoons for Food and Music – Folk Music Instruments

Depending on the place where folk music is originating from, the instruments vary as well. Cultures have been very original when it comes to making music with unique tools that they find and put together. While the option of using pots and pans to create music is excellent, using spoons took off with many cultures. Using spoons to create folk music has been prevalent for several generations. Research shows that people have been playing music with spoons even before written history existed. The earliest recording of spoons for music has been noted from the rock paintings in the 4th Millennium.

Music Class Concussion Idiophone

Music produced from spoons belongs to the Concussion Idiophone class of musical instruments. It is believed that music from spoons has been around since the time spoons were invented. The known cultures who used spoons in folk music are Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. They called the spoons as rattle bones or rhythm bones. Essentially the convex part of the spoons touches each other while the player rattled them against their other palm. The finger place in between each spoon provides enough room for movement and thus making the rattling rhythmic sound.

Battle marches, crusades, and army marches are times when the instrument was used to produce rhythm to the marching crowds in ancient times. The unique sounds usually signaled to the enemy to identify their opponent’s arrival.

Spoon Folk Music from Around the World

Europe is known for folk music originating from clanking spoons. Depending on the place, each folk music has its way they use spoons in folk.

  • In Great Britain, the spoons accompany the fiddle when traditional folk music is played. At present, there is only one registered spoon player in Great Britain – Duncan Campbell.
  • The French-Canadians play the spoons too. They use spoons made of wood, but that is connected. The accordion or the fiddle accompany the spoon with French-Canadian folk music. Other forms of percussion they used with the wooden spoons are clogging.
  • The Greek spoon instrument is called the Kautalakia which is used at wedding ceremonies. The Russians call their spoons as Lozhki.
  • If there is one race that plays the spoons differently from other folk cultures, it’s the Russians’ way of playing it. The techniques that they use is fascinating and very enthralling. They use spoons in both their hands or even sew them onto their clothes for added rhythmic sounds.
  • Eastern Slavs used their spoons when going to war, when hunting or when they played their traditional folk music.

Keeping the Love for Spoons Alive

The art of playing spoons is unique. However, there are very few people who want to take it up as an instrument by itself to master. These days, some percussionists use spoons as part of their act but rarely dedicate their entire talent to spoon playing. The lack of popularity does not mean that there are no dedicated spoon players in the world. Several notable artists play only with spoons. They usually are nifty and use the word ‘Spoons’ as their middle name to identify themselves for their unique folk talent. Playing spoons not just keep ancient traditions alive, but also help in creating new traditions.

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