Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31

Thread: Who was Bickford....

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    55

    Default

    I was reading archival material in this Class/Medie/Rennai section of the Cafe because I needed information on positions. #The recommendations were obvious, use a Bickford Mandolin Method. #Well, with a short search for the author, I was surprised to learn more about their origin.
    If I am correct, Ethel Lucretia Olcott (Bickford Revere) wrote this method book.... Or?? was it Zarh Myron Bickford, her husband?
    bio. link #below....
    Olcott Bickford




  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,971

    Default

    Zarh Myron Bickford, in 4 volumes. IMHO, along with Pettine, the best of the American methods.

    Jim



    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    55

    Default

    Thanks. It's on order from Djangobooks.com. Between the two of them, it seems that they were a power house of music.

  4. #4
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Caulifonya
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    Vadah Olcott-Bickford and Zarh (her husband) were two of the foremost players, composers, and teachers of their day. Vadah was a master guitarist; Zarh a mandolinist.. They appeared together often, with Zarh playing a VERRRRRY cool L&H mandocello.

    They lived in Los Angeles and were contemporaries of several famous LA luthiers. They also shared the bill (at least once) with Lloyd Loar. I wonder what Lloyd thought of Zahr's technique.. And vice versa?

  5. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,971

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (Pattroglyph @ Sep. 01 2006, 13:38)
    Thanks. It's on order from Djangobooks.com. Between the two of them, it seems that they were a power house of music.
    Bickford volumes 1 & 2 are available in ebook on djangobooks.com

    Jim
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  6. #6
    Registered User Bob DeVellis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    1,661

    Default

    He was named Myron at birth but he and his new wife, Vahdah, (originally named Ethel Lucretia Olcott) developed an interest in astrology/numerology and both changed their names to ones they believed were more numerologically auspicious. Thus, the strange names. Myron was a very successful multi-instrumentalist who began his career on the east coast and then headed to California to join Vahdah.

    Here's a picture of Bickford from Cadenza that Paul Ruppa was generous enough to share with me. You'll notice that Bickford's mandolin in this shot is a Howe-Orme.



    .



    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Bickford_Cad_8_99_p22_small.jpg 
Views:	226 
Size:	51.4 KB 
ID:	18127  
    Bob DeVellis

  7. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,971

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (bobd @ Sep. 01 2006, 14:44)
    You'll notice that Bickford's mandolin in this shot is a Howe-Orme.
    Ah, Bob, a man with taste, eh?

    Jim



    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  8. #8
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Caulifonya
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    I think we should all adopt new names in mando-solidarity.

  9. #9

    Default

    The Bickfords were groovy. Sorry I missed all this chat. My new astropluck name shall be Xenu.

  10. #10

    Default

    PS: Vahdah, Mrs. Bickford, started life in Ohio near Lake Erie, my stompin' grounds. #Before Segovia's campaign wiped out the memory of non-Torres-style classical guitars, Martin made a line of very fine quality, but almost entirely undecorated, classical guitars, largely for Vahdah's students, the "Bickford" signature series.

    I like the presentation of lessons and exercises in both Bickford methods (Zarh Myron's for mandolin and Vahdah Olcott's for guitar: like Jim says, Zarh Myron's is one of the best and most thorough American mandolin methods), but the musical material contained in both is of a decidedly corny sound.




  11. #11
    Registered User Neil Gladd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Hyattsville, MD
    Posts
    812

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (delsbrother @ Sep. 01 2006, 13:42)
    Vadah Olcott-Bickford and Zarh (her husband) were two of the foremost players, composers, and teachers of their day.
    Players and teachers, yes, but I would question composers. However, Bickford was probably the first mandolinist to start his own record label. They made several recordings on the Zarvah Art label in the 1920's. These are extremely rare, and though I know of a few in various collections, I don't have any of my own, yet.




  12. #12
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Caulifonya
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    Ahh, you're right - I was slavishly repeating the motto of the Guild to which they belonged. DOH.

    Can anyone share a picture of Zahr with one of his mandocelli? I know some very nice photos exist that show him with both Gibson and L&H varieties..




  13. #13
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Caulifonya
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    This is the only picture of Zahr I have - a microfiched pic from the the LA Times documenting a 1924 radio performance with the Bickford Mandolin Orchestra. I think that may be Vadah in the background, holding Zahr's L&H..



    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	zahr.JPG 
Views:	175 
Size:	31.1 KB 
ID:	18160  

  14. #14
    Registered User Neil Gladd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Hyattsville, MD
    Posts
    812

    Default

    Here is another bad photo. It's a scan of a photocopy, so this is as good as it gets. It's from the cover of The Story of the Strings, a suite for mandocello (or mandolin) and guitar that the Bickfords co-wrote in 1920. It was reproduced in a past issue of Mandolin Quarterly. It's sort of interesting that they wrote it, but the music is pretty corny.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Bickfords.jpg 
Views:	228 
Size:	87.7 KB 
ID:	18162  

  15. #15
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Caulifonya
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    Yeah, that's one I was thinking about! I saw that at the Bickford Archive in a BMG Convention program that was from the early 20s. I think there are others in color too, with different instruments.

    Is that the Bickford-special Martin guitar? If so, didn't that predate the Martin/Ditson dreadnaught?

    Also, do any of you Bickfordians have a list of her LA Guitar Society, American Guitar Society, or Bickford Mandolin Orchestra members? None of these were available for viewing at the Archive.




  16. #16
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,971

    Default

    Vahdah wrote a column called the Guitarist's Roundtable for the Crescendo magazines in the 19-teens. Myron (not Zarh at the time) wrote a column in the competing Cadenza magazines around 1915. He was also listed as heading a music school in New York at that time.

    Jim
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  17. #17
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Boyes Hot Springs, California
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Who was Bickford....

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1914-The-Gu...ss!95476!US!-1

    check this out...just saw Bone's book for sale on eBay with its endearing inscription to Ethel Lucretia Olcott. She was still a teenager in 1914. WOW! I'm almost done with my research on the E & E Calamara legacy and getting ready to publish it. Their lives may have intersected during her rising star decade c. 1900. While Bone's biographical studies became a big inspiration for my Italian Mandolin Heroes book, there's no way I could buy this first edition, #1 autographed copy. Someone else out there??

  18. The following members say thank you to Mandophile for this post:


  19. #18
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Vancouver Island
    Posts
    1,291

    Default Re: Who was Bickford....

    Just found this article that includes some of Ron Purcells's recollections of Mrs. Bickford from a later era. She was his teacher in the 'fifties.

    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-...409-story.html

  20. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Who was Bickford....

    In case you play in bass clef, Bickford also has one of the very few method books on mandocello.

  21. #20
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Boyes Hot Springs, California
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Who was Bickford....

    mea culpa!
    I wanted to correct my statement about Olcott being a teenager in 1914. She was not, rather she was about 30 years old (born 1885) when she moved to New York to assist Bone in his biographical study of mandolinists and guitarists.

  22. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    In hills, FRANCE.
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Who was Bickford....

    From archive.org, wonderful resource.
    Enjoy!

    https://archive.org/stream/bickfordm...ge/16/mode/2up

  23. The following members say thank you to atsunrise for this post:


  24. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,230

    Default Re: Who was Bickford....

    "In case you play in bass clef, Bickford also has one of the very few method books on mandocello."

    The entire Bickford mandocello method is written in octave treble clef. Not a measure of bass clef in it.
    Robert A. Margo

  25. #23
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northop, North Wales
    Posts
    5,997

    Default Re: Who was Bickford....

    Quote Originally Posted by margora View Post
    "In case you play in bass clef, Bickford also has one of the very few method books on mandocello."

    The entire Bickford mandocello method is written in octave treble clef. Not a measure of bass clef in it.
    Unfortunately not even that: it's written in universal notation, which for mandocello means double octave treble clef. It's the one clef that is almost guaranteed to be completely useless for any modern player without note-for-note transcription (which I've done for a couple of pieces). Octave treble would be OK: just read as if it were an OM but play a string higher. Transposing notation would be OK as well (i.e. finger like OM, sound a fifth lower). But double octave clef is hopeless for sight-reading, at least for me.

    Martin

  26. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,230

    Default Re: Who was Bickford....

    "Unfortunately not even that: it's written in universal notation, which for mandocello means double octave treble clef. It's the one clef that is almost guaranteed to be completely useless for any modern player without note-for-note transcription (which I've done for a couple of pieces)."

    "Universal notation" = octave treble clef, in one octave or another. The phrase "Octave treble clef" in my post covers 8va and 15ma. Occasional measures of the Bickford mandocello method are written in 8va (he meant this to be the substitute for writing in tenor clef), most is in 15ma. As for 15ma being "completely useless to the modern player" I have no trouble reading it (a well-trained mandocello player should be able to read bass clef for modern plus early 20th century Italian, tenor for the Goichberg etudes, 8va treble for Calace liuto parts on the fly and occasionally other European things, and 15ma for early 20th century US). CMSA routinely prepares mandocello parts in 15ma for its En Masse orchestra if people request it (and some do).
    Robert A. Margo

  27. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Who was Bickford....

    Sorry I derailed the Bickford thread--I meant "bass range" of course, not clef. Bickford lays out his clef system on p. 6, using the "G" clef for all ranges but with a slash or two slashes to indicate octave. He even calls these the Bass and Tenor clefs, on which I know many would disagree. He also calls all of this "Universal Notation," I am sure another source of disagreement. I have conducted from European choral and orchestral scores that put all the clefs--G, F, and C--on different lines, as we often see the F clef or C moved in cello parts. So even calling them Treble and Tenor (or in some sources "Soprano") might be questionable, but they do indicate letter names. I blame all this confusion on Guido d'Arezzo.

  28. The following members say thank you to Jim Imhoff for this post:


Similar Threads

  1. Bickford's mc book
    By a12 in forum CBOM
    Replies: 5
    Last: Aug-28-2008, 10:57am
  2. Bickford
    By Eugene in forum Classical, Italian, Medieval, Renaissance
    Replies: 6
    Last: Jan-18-2008, 8:38pm
  3. Bickford
    By sboneill in forum Classical, Italian, Medieval, Renaissance
    Replies: 3
    Last: Feb-03-2007, 5:25am
  4. Bickford question
    By John Zimm in forum Classical, Italian, Medieval, Renaissance
    Replies: 11
    Last: Jan-26-2007, 4:02pm
  5. Bickford method
    By John Bertotti in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 0
    Last: Jul-03-2004, 9:57pm

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •