Mummers Parade – String Bands

Mummers Parade – String Bands

Music; Ambience: Mummers Parade, String bands

JM: Recognize that sound? Well, think New Year’s Day, Philadelphia. Yep – it’s the Mummers Parade. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Thousands of people come every year to be entertained by folks who perform in marching bands wearing glittering costumes and extravagant headpieces with lots of ostrich feathers. There are four different judging divisions in the parade, but it’s the String Band groups that the crowd really loves. Jack Cohen is the curator of the Mummers Museum.

JC: “They’re the only division of the four divisions that plays their own musical instruments, and they’re also judged on that music. They’re judged for music, presentation, and costuming.”

JM: The parade has been an official Philadelphia city event since 1901. In 1902, the String Band division was started by four men who entered the parade as a small band.

JC: “Years ago, the instruments that were used were stringed instruments: violins, guitars, mandolins. As the years progressed, somebody would say ‘well, I remember an instrument in Germany called a glockenspiel, let’s try this one out.’ And they added a couple instruments to create a different sound. I think the last instrument was probably added in the 40’s, and that’s been about it. So we’re using the same sounds from the 40’s, just a different percentage wise. We use more of a saxophone sound where they didn’t use that before. A banjo is one of the favorite instruments of the Mummers. Sometimes, dependent on a theme, they’ll spotlight an individual, or group of individuals who are just playing the banjo just to hear that unique Philadelphia Mummers sound.”

JM: We’ll hear more on the Mummers Parade in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Mummers Parade - String Bands

Since 1902, the "String Band" of the Mummers Parade has been revered by Mummers and townspeople alike.
Air Date:12/31/2014
Scientist:
Transcript:

Mummers Parade - String Bands

Music; Ambience: Mummers Parade, String bands

JM: Recognize that sound? Well, think New Year's Day, Philadelphia. Yep - it's the Mummers Parade. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Thousands of people come every year to be entertained by folks who perform in marching bands wearing glittering costumes and extravagant headpieces with lots of ostrich feathers. There are four different judging divisions in the parade, but it's the String Band groups that the crowd really loves. Jack Cohen is the curator of the Mummers Museum.

JC: "They're the only division of the four divisions that plays their own musical instruments, and they're also judged on that music. They're judged for music, presentation, and costuming."

JM: The parade has been an official Philadelphia city event since 1901. In 1902, the String Band division was started by four men who entered the parade as a small band.

JC: "Years ago, the instruments that were used were stringed instruments: violins, guitars, mandolins. As the years progressed, somebody would say 'well, I remember an instrument in Germany called a glockenspiel, let's try this one out.' And they added a couple instruments to create a different sound. I think the last instrument was probably added in the 40's, and that's been about it. So we're using the same sounds from the 40's, just a different percentage wise. We use more of a saxophone sound where they didn't use that before. A banjo is one of the favorite instruments of the Mummers. Sometimes, dependent on a theme, they'll spotlight an individual, or group of individuals who are just playing the banjo just to hear that unique Philadelphia Mummers sound."

JM: We'll hear more on the Mummers Parade in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.