What Is the ‘Imperfect Fiddle’?

Many years ago, a German music dealer sold its “imperfect fiddles” to enslaved people. This company stayed in business from the mid-1800s to 1970, and the descendants of the family still live here in Charleston.

On Monday, October 12, Historian Nicholas Butler, PhD., of the Charleston County Library System will lead a symposium on the “imperfect fiddle,” presenting the extraordinary story of enslaved Negro players performing with fiddles that were substandard in their craftsmanship but yet garnered unimaginable sound that provided exceptional pleasure and entertainment for their masters’ enjoyment.

The event will take place at the Charleston County Public Library’s auditorium (68 Calhoun Street), and admission is FREE.


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