American Primitivism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

American Primitivism, also known as American Primitive Guitar, is the music genre started by John Fahey in the late 1950s. Fahey composed and recorded avant-garde/neo-classical compositions using traditional country blues fingerpicking techniques, which had previously been used primarily to accompany vocals. Other famous early proponents were Leo Kottke, Robbie Basho and Peter Lang who all played at one time or another on Fahey's Takoma Records label. In recent years musicians of American Primitive-style guitar also can be categorized to broader New Acoustic genre.


". . . The New Age people call it Folk; the Folk people call it New Age, but it is really neither. It's transitional. The style is derived from the country blues and string band music of the '20s and '30s, however much of the music is contemporary. Fahey referred to it as 'American Primitive' after the 'French Primitive' painters, meaning untutored."[1]

"...Fahey suggested the idea of joining similar themes, and exploring both time and space. He also wanted me to try using dissonance and minor tunings. Maybe the biggest thing he put into me was the idea that a major part of music exists in the space between notes and chords."[2]

Notable proponents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Peter Lang on American Primitive Guitar". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  2. ^ "Peter Lang on Fahey's influence on his playing". Archived from the original on 12 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 

External links[edit]