Those that have spent time listening to a group of folks sitting around playing old time music will often wonder how it is that the musicians make these wonderful tunes end at the same time. To one unfamiliar with the music and really can’t tell the difference between the A part and the B part and the many variations of the rendering of the tune, let alone the occasional addition of a C part, the ending of the tune by all the musicians on the same note after an indeterminable amount of time can seem quite remarkable in itself. But after a couple of tunes have been played the keen observer will notice that the ending of the tune will be preceded by the lifting of the foot.
What may not be apparent to the casual observer is that it is not the lifting of the foot that announces the end of the tune. Rather it is the sound of the fart that follows. This signal blast may be lost to the ears of one unaccustomed to the squalling of the fiddle, sounding much like the squawking of a flock of geese flying overhead, but to the ears of the seasoned old time musician it is the signal to play the final note of a wonderful old time fiddle tune.
So next time you listen to a group of old time musicians and you see one of them raise the foot off the ground lean in a little closer and listen very carefully for a cherished and time honored old time musical tradition.