Seth Bye is a composer, fiddle player and educator, recently heard on BBC Radio 2, 3, 4, 6 Music and BBC World Service. He has performed in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Cecil Sharp House and the Alexander Stadium.
Specialising in traditional music styles, Seth tours with Filkin’s Music and The Destroyers. He has also toured with Giffords Circus, performing on fiddle, banjo and accordion.
Seth’s music is inspired by his ever-changing surroundings, as he explores the canals of England on a liveaboard narrowboat. He has recently been featured in The Times, the i and on BBC News, following an 870 mile foot-powered-tour with Filkin’s Drift. His current projects include:
Seth’s compositions take inspiration from local people and places across the British Isles. His work focuses on regional identity and the cultural heritage of an individual location, capturing the essence of landscapes and communities through the medium of music.
By exploring local identity, Seth aims to celebrate the diversity and individuality of the UK, fostering a sense of pride and connection with the land that surrounds us. His music serves as a bridge between past and present to preserve the cultural heritage of the British Isles.
focuses on Seth’s ancestral roots in the Cotswolds. The song narrates the social and economic change that took place in small villages during the 20th century. It touches on the housing crisis that followed WW2 and the demise of self-sufficiency when industrialism from the cities reached rural Gloucestershire.
This true story was collected from local characters in Chedworth village and archive material was provided by Gloucester City Council. In a collaboration with The Gloucester Civic Trust, 'Old Spot' was recorded in the 16th century Tudor building, The Folk of Gloucester. This building is the home to the story's protagonist, Pansy the Gloucester Old Spot sow, who is now preserved in taxidermy form. The song observes the highest piece of land in Chedworth, and how its function changed over the course of fifty years, from arable scrub land, to aircraft hangars, to council housing, to pigsties.
Composed and orchestated by Seth Bye. Performed by Seth Bye and Filkin's Ensemble.
was written for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony by The Destroyers, and was performed in part of the segment entitled ‘Carnival of Firsts’ celebrating the many industrious innovations the city has gifted the world. 'Forward' was performed in the Alexander Stadium to an audience of 40,000 and broadcast live on BBC One television to 5.2 million viewers.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Birmingham was at the centre of the Industrial Revolution, with heavy industries dominating the Black Country landscape. This area was known as such for the black smoke emitted by its factories in the day, while at night the furnaces glowed red. The original Bullring Market was established in the 12th century and was used for bull-baiting, as well as the sale of goods. By 1832 it had become the traditional meeting place for speakers. 'Forward' was produced in collabaration with the Birmingham City Council and community choirs across the West Midlands.
Co-arranged with The Destroyers. Performed by Seth Bye and The Destroyers.
Seth's work uses field recordings from local communities that capture unique moments, preserving them through the medium of music. Rhythmic and melodic motifs are created by looping visual media. These motifs are embodied in the music through a textural sound bed that is created using fiddle and synthesisers.
Keeping the source material ‘pure’ is incredibly important to Seth in order to most accurately represent one specific moment in time. The videos are never separated from their corresponding audio tracks, achieving constant symbiosis between image and sound.
reimagines the melody of a traditional Himalayen folksong. In 2012, Seth visited rural communities in Ladakh, making music with the students at a small village school:
'Waking to Orange'
harmonises wildlife sounds and human speech captured in Ladakh. Seth records the unique sounds of nature heard across the Himalayas, from the bell on a donkey, to gusts of wind, to the whistle of a farmer. These sounds are mimicked by the violin, producing a unique heterophonic texture. Later in the piece, a farmer’s sing-song voice is transcribed and performed as a melody:
was composed through the manipulation of samples that were recorded of a banjo. The tape part was produced by manipulating these samples in various ways such as pitch shifting, time stretching, applying modulation, reverbs and delays. The interaction between the live and tape parts is of great importance, with cause and effect sequences being used throughout the piece.
Seth has performed at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Cecil Sharp House and the Alexander Stadium to an audience of 40,000. He has performed at festivals including Boomtown, Greenman, Shambala and Sidmouth Folk Festival. Seth is well established in the traditional music scene, with his performance career spanning over a decade.
Current touring bands include Filkin’s Drift, Filkin’s Ensemble and The Destroyers. Previously, Seth has toured internationally with Gathering Tides, Germa Adan and Joe Broughton’s Conservatoire Folk Ensemble and The Unsung Roots. He has also toured with Giffords Circus, performing on fiddle, banjo and accordion.
Seth is a highly qualified educator specialising in folk and traditional music styles. Seth has 10+ years of educational experience, teaching all age and ability ranges. Seth’s approach to education is highly student-led, tailoring his lessons to the needs of every individual. He is a strong believer in teaching by ear, which encompasses improvisation, composition and music theory. Teaching in this manner produces well-rounded and versatile musicians.
After studying music at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Seth has delivered workshops and given CPD teacher training for music educators across the country. His work as a professional performer means that Seth puts his passion for music at the heart of his teaching practice. Classically trained on violin and viola, Seth also plays tenor banjo and accordion professionally. His classical training means that Seth ensures good performance technique and posture. His knowledge of folk, pop and jazz means that his students can turn their hand to any musical style and Seth can teach the music that inspires a student the most.
See below for a live performance and workshop led by Seth, working with In Harmony and The Destroyers.
Seth also gives lessons in music theory, composition and music technology. Seth has a thorough knowledge of the music industry, ready to share with prospective students. He is well versed in all major DAWs, mainly focusing on Pro Tools and Logic Pro X.
To arrange a lesson with Seth, send him a message using the button below.