Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association


MBOTMA Duet Championship
Official Rules — Please read carefully

MBOTMA Definition of Duet: Vocal musical performance presented by two individuals for two voices and one or two acoustic stringed instruments.

1. In the preliminary round, entrants will be prepared to perform two selections in traditional acoustic Old-Time, Bluegrass, Country or Western Swing style. The judges will allow song selections outside traditional fiddle or bluegrass music. The "style" of playing must be in the tradition of bluegrass and old time music.
2. Entrants will be prepared to play three duet numbers. Two numbers will be played in the preliminary round and one number will be played in the championship round should the entrants be selected as finalists.
3. Entrants will be allowed up to four minutes to complete each song selection. An official time-keeper tracks the time of each performance. There is a 30-point penalty for going over the time limit.
4. Performance must include a vocal arrangement for two voices and one or two acoustic stringed instruments.
5. Each performer in the duet will be allowed to carry one instrument on stage per song. Instruments must be carried on stage, unassisted, by performer in one trip.
6. Entrants must play through the microphones provided by the Staff. Use of amplifiers and/or DIs is not permitted (no instruments may be plugged directly into sound board).
7. Entrants may not introduce themselves or speak into the microphone.
8. In the case of a broken string, the duet will be allowed to exit the stage, restring, and come back at the end of the contest.
9. The championship round takes place after the first round is completed. In the championship round, the top five duets will be invited to return to the stage and perform one song according to the guidelines above.
10. Contestant's scores will not be released.

Scoring will be based on the following four criteria for a maximum of 100 points per performance:
• Vocal Phrasing (20)       
• Intonation (singing and playing in tune) (20)
• Timing (20)
• Instrumental skills (20)
• Presentation (20)
Note: If the duet goes over the four-minute time limit for a selection, 30 points will be deducted from their score for that selection.

• Three judges will observe the performance.
• Scoring will be conducted by the judges during each performance.
• Each song has a potential for 300 points. (1 song X 3 judges X 100 points = 300)
• After each song, score cards will be handed by the judges to the score keepers, who will keep an accurate tally of score cards.
• The next performance will not start until the previous performer has been scored by the judges.
• First and second round performances are judged separately. In the championship round, judges do not consider the first round performance. (Only in the event of a tie will the first and second round scores be combined. If the tie is still not broken, the judges will determine the ranking.)

Download a PDF of the Duet Contest Rules here.

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