Abstract

The "chop" is a percussive string instrument technique pioneered by bluegrass fiddler Richard Greene in the 1960s and adopted into contemporary string styles by Darol Anger in the 1980s. This article traces the diffusion of the chop through a number of North Atlantic fiddling traditions in the 1990s and 2000s. It also considers the circumstances and implications of musicians’ decisions to adopt, adapt, or reject the chop. Drawing on both sociological research on the diffusion of innovations and genre theory, this article demonstrates that the diffusion trajectory of a musical innovation depends on the innovation itself, on the sites of transmission, and on the interplay of the lived and imagined musical worlds within which musicians play, work, and study. It concludes by suggesting that, when studying North Atlantic fiddling, both regional divisions and generational trends should be taken into consideration.

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