The Amherst Early Music Festival is held every summer in different locations. I've been to ones in Bennington Vt,, Uconn and frequently at Conn college in New London. Everywhere but Amherst. Â I might be wrong but I believe I remember years ago that the festival was held in Amherst, ergo the name.
Early music enthusiasts have several problems, First of all it is often difficult to find qualified instruction for bizarre and unusual archaic instruments, and second, it's hard to find other people that play similar bizarre and strange instruments. At Amherst you will absolutely be around zillions of very strange and unusual musical instruments and Â some very strange and bizarre people.
There are two weeks of workshops that have some of the most qualify early music teachers on the planet. Intense and instructive. Then on July 18-19 they have the music and instrument exhibits. This is the part where anyone can just drop in and see instruments and talk to the makers.
You must be warned. These are mostly Medieval and Renaissance instruments. The strings are frequently tuned different and the some of the winds can be fiendishly different to play in tune. As someone once told me fingering charts just give a suggestion of a note, not necessarily the note you are looking for.
You will hear all kinds of howling, grunting, wheezing, plunking, thumping, farting Â growling, snorting and screaming from harps, lutes, recorders, vielles, flutes, ouds, crumhorns, kortholts, gambas, bagpipes and serpents. Sounds and sights I am sure you have never seen or heard before.
So if you play one of these beasts from another time look into the workshops. If you just have an interest in music or perhaps the strange and bizarre come to the music and instrument exhibitions. You will be amazed.
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