Bruce Molsky

My grandfather and my dad’s brothers and my dad all worked in construction. It’s the whole cultural thing, you know, your parents want you to go to the next level of whatever, and I decided that I ought to be an architect. I can’t tell you why. And I tried, and I had no aptitude for it.

There are things about how a note sounds on a violin that are really analogous to the human voice – you have a frequency and the air, and then you have a timbre which really is overtones – and making those things work together is one thing. The other thing is mechanical: If you can use your hands and arms to create sound on a fiddle, then learning to sing with it is like adding a third body part. And it’s all training.

The way you hold the bow, the way that violinists are trained to produce a note, is really different. I’m not an expert in classical music. I don’t want to say something that ends up in print and somebody comes running after me with a shovel, but they’re taught for each note to stand alone in a very deliberate kind of way, which is really different than how notes are strung together in old-time music to create rhythm.