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appalachian dulcimer

ollaimh 03 Aug 11 - 11:35 PM
katlaughing 04 Aug 11 - 12:22 AM
ClaireBear 04 Aug 11 - 12:23 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Aug 11 - 07:22 AM
Will Fly 04 Aug 11 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Aug 11 - 08:10 AM
katlaughing 04 Aug 11 - 09:28 AM
Will Fly 04 Aug 11 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Aug 11 - 10:10 AM
lefthanded guitar 04 Aug 11 - 02:56 PM
ollaimh 04 Aug 11 - 07:31 PM
PHJim 04 Aug 11 - 08:11 PM
ClaireBear 04 Aug 11 - 08:13 PM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Aug 11 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Aug 11 - 03:37 PM
GUEST 05 Aug 11 - 03:40 PM
ollaimh 05 Aug 11 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,leeneia 06 Aug 11 - 10:09 AM
lefthanded guitar 09 Aug 11 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Aug 11 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,Irish dulcimer player 09 Aug 11 - 04:32 PM
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Subject: appalacian dulcimer
From: ollaimh
Date: 03 Aug 11 - 11:35 PM

i bought an appalacian dulcimer on ebay. a six string three course model made of koa wood back and sides and a cedar top. it's a lot of fun!it has friction pegs which are fine so i can play at rennaissance faires as well as folk.

i've been trying a lot of celtic ballads, a few fiddle/mandolin tunes, and one turkish tune i found on you tube.

are there many dulcimer players out there still? and what are you playing?


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 12:22 AM

Congratulations. I love my dulcimer. We have had a lot of threads over the years with various postings of set lists. Maybe THIS ONE will be of interest.

Have fun!

kat


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Subject: RE: appalacian dulcimer
From: ClaireBear
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 12:23 AM

Mine is a six-string three-course as well. It has a lot more sound than a three- or four-string model AND with all those double courses (vs just one double course on the top string), the melody can move to any string without losing volume. Both those traits make it great for playing with a band, which is how I use it. And, in fact, I bought it and started performing (many years ago) at a Renaissance Faire!

C


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 07:22 AM

I think my Folk Epiphany was a very much a Dulcimer thing. I first heard them on Strawbs albums when I was a kid without realising what they were - on songs like Dragonfly, Witchwood, Benedictus. I used to play the guitar with a drone to get the sound! Then I saw the late Phil Ranson doing a gig in Whitley Bay library, and for Xmas 1976 my brother bought me a Camac Appalachian Dulcimer and a copy of Times and Traditions for Dulcimer by Roger Nicholson & Jake Walton (which I've played every Xmas day since, and other days too...).

I sold my old Camac for a better one in 1981, but I didn't like half as much, so I sold that and bought a Swedish Hummel instead, though what I really wanted was a Hungarian Citera. This dream wasn't realised until 2005, when I found a very old one in Pamela's Music, and then bought another from Budpest (made from solid mahogany - see HERE). Round this time too (when the exchange rate was in UK favour) my wife bought a cheap Applecreek Dulcimer from USA and very nice it is too, though she hasn't played it much since getting into the banjo.

What goes around come around.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 07:37 AM

Enjoy your dulcimer! Suibhne has mentioned the late, great Roger Nicholson - who sadly died early last year after many years of poor health - who was dulcimer pioneer, along with John Pearse, in the UK. Roger's seminal album "Nonesuch For Dulcimer", with Bob Johnson on guitar and vocals, has been one of my favourites since I bought it in the 1970s.

One of the tracks on that album was "In Good King Arthur's Day" - which I sang only a day or two ago at a gig. When I received my dulcimer - made for me by a wonderful luthier from Baltimore called Dave Sewell, I just had to pay tribute to Roger with:

In Good King Arthur's Day

And let's not forget dear Jean Ritchie - "Kytrad" on this forum - still with us! Jean it was who helped me to get in touch with Roger before his death.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 08:10 AM

Will - didn't know about Roger's passing, though I knew he'd been ill. I never met him, or saw him, but his music is a cherished part of everything I hold most sacred. Let's hope one day that we'll see those old Leader / Trailer albums liberated from Celtic Music's cursed oubiette and given the status they deserve.

Jean Ritchie is the Dulcimer Mother of us all I'm sure!


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 09:28 AM

Will, I would hardly call that "crude." Well done and beautiful!

Here's more about OUR JEAN (KYTrad).


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 09:33 AM

I'd long wondered about Roger - where he'd disappeared to after being so influential in the dulcimer world. As far as I'm aware, he was on holiday when struck by some disease or other which left him almost permanently an invalid and unable to perform professionally. I got in touch with him in December 2008 to ask after him, and received a letter some weeks later in early 2009. He'd been in hospital over the Christmas period with pneumonia but was typically cheerful and talking about playing his ukulele! Then he died in, I think October or November of that year.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 10:10 AM

I play a McFadden, using three strings and a thumb pick. I have a 'pub table' in one room, and I like to set the dulcimer on it and play standing up. I put plasti-tac under the edges to hold it off the tabletop and let it be louder.

I have a simpler one, made years ago from a kit, to travel with. It has saved my sanity at many a family reunion.

I just updated my list of dulcimer tunes, and it has 222 songs on it, not counting the early music.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 02:56 PM

I also have a three string, unfancy, hand made dulcimer, that has quite a lovely wood. I haven't played it in a while alas,but am glad to be reminded to take it off the shelf. And I would happily take suggestions as to some simple tunes to play. I will be playing a set at an historical restoration village soon, so I would want songs that recall life from a prior century.

Besides Simple Gifts, which I can still remember. ;)


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: ollaimh
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 07:31 PM

i discovered today that i can fingerpick the dulcimer with better results than the flat pick. i finger pick guitar and play celtic harp occasionally, so its easy for me. i am getting much better rythym and i think a more reverberating tone--although not quite as loud. i find jamie rayburn, the verdant braes of skreen and wild mountain tymes just flow off my fingers and are easier to play than on guitar--i bet whistle accompanyment would go fabulously with dulcimer

so do many finger pick?

this one i bought was made by bighorn musical woodworks, by paul geiger, in 1978. it's plain but very nice wood and a beautiful sound. i don't imagine there are a lot of dulcimers with inlay and do dads.

i just bought a book of o'carolan for dulcimer. so i'll try that. i am using dad tuning. i am a dadgad guitat player and an adada cittern player and an adad bouzouki player--most of the time(i do use alternate tunings when the mood moves me), so i can quite easily transfer tunes, and i fact i am finding the dulcimer is expanding by bouzouki/cittern playing as i discover new tunes and ideas.

a luthier in maine i know said that he found references to eppinette/humel/scheidholt going back to around 1300 in northern italy, but they were chromatically fretted.

i did have a hungarian thingey like an eppinette, but it was crude and i sold it years ago. perhaps that was a mistake. i paid little and sold it for little. however it was a small one. i noticed that in the movie "doubt" a few years ago there was a hungarian dulcimer player in the opening scene playing a large one and playing it on a table. that would be easier but does it dampen the sound?

i find the fiddle tunes a bit more difficult than on bouzouki, but they are very prety, and there are several you tube videos of people playing very fast tunes on dulcimer. i like jean rithcie on you tube but i am trying for a more nova scotia gaelic sound. i was just trying tha me sgith--cutting the braken on bagpipes--i think. the drones are perfect.

i do not remember any cape breton dulcimer players when i was young but back then a banjo and mandolin were exotic. people played the piano, guitar fiddle and whistle and fiddle piano guitar and whistle and sometimes whistle fiddle guitar and piano-- then bagpies out doors or at big dances. however dulcimer has the drones for bagpipe tunes and for scotura tuning on fiddle.

i was just up in cape breton. lovely place to visit. i got reissued albums on cd of the north shore gaelic singers and winston scotty fitzgerald. i lost mine in a house fire. winston scotty was one of the standard bearers for the "softer style, angus chislom for the rougher style.cds are easier than vinyl anyhoo. and I GOT A NEW GAELIC COURSE BOOK FOR INTERMEDIATE LEARNERS can't wait. i grew up with a a bit of gaelic around but i have had no one to speak to for about fifty years so i'm pretty bad now. at least i know the spelling system(if you dare call it a system) and the basic pronounciation and grammar.

so now i am ready to sing chi me na morbheanna on dulcimer, maybe ma thoun gal dileas if i am ambitious


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: PHJim
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 08:11 PM

I own two dulcimers. One I made in the seventies from door veneer. It is available to children who want to play with an instrument while visiting our house. I also have a very nice dulcimer with spruce top and rosewood back and sides that I bought at a yard sale 30 years ago. It is an hourglass with four strings. It has no name indicating who built it and the sound holes are shaped like a stemless four leaf clover. I tune mine DDG.

Ollaimh, I'm pleased that you said that you "bought" it on ebay. It annoys me to hear people say they "won" something on ebay. You were willing to pay more than anyone else, but you still bought it.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: ClaireBear
Date: 04 Aug 11 - 08:13 PM

A table magnifies the sound of my dulcimer...adds to the resonance somehow. Not sure why that is, but it's definitely true.

I think Edith Butler used dulcimer in her act (which I have not seen in 30 years). She is Acadian from PEI, I seem to recall, so wrong culture and wrong province, but right side of Canada anyway! Best of luck with your music.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Aug 11 - 03:35 PM

Hi, Leftie. You said: " I will be playing a set at an historical restoration village soon..."

What nation? What century?

Whatever the answers are, you can probably find some good tunes on Contemplator's site. Hold on, and I'll post the URL.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Aug 11 - 03:37 PM

Here it is:

http://www.contemplator.com/america/


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 11 - 03:40 PM

http://www.contemplator.com/america/


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: ollaimh
Date: 05 Aug 11 - 06:55 PM

cool site for music info.

i do find really good stuff on ebay if you are looking for the oddball stuff. everybody knows about gibson and martin guitars, but i got five course round back bouzouki/octave mandolin for $450. it;s beautiful and it would cost three grand to get one made now--fer instance. i bid on this dulcimer because it was six strings and had friction pegs and the wood looked very finely figured--and it is a gem! they do have a special sound.

edith butler is from the acadien pennisula in nouveau brunswick. paquetteville! she had a local hit song with the tune "paquettevillle". i live in nouveau brunswick now. i'm from eatern nova scotia though.

i just saw a great rendition of chi me na morbheanna on u tube by a guy from michigan--if he can do it i can do it.

the coolest thing i found was a turkish guy palying an ottoman era folk tune on appalacian dulcimer. i have been working on tha mi sgith all day on dulcimer and a bit of andrew lammie--the latter is great for dulcimer but the lyrics are sad--ultimately its an honour killing song--there's no accounting for lowlanders.

some times i wonder how sassenachen women get so abused. but then have people out there metmany highland gaelic women? just try abusing them and see what happens!

i have noticed over the years the nova scotia highlander versions of folk songs alway leave out the killings. in feniario , the american version a woman jilts a guy then he burns down the whole town, in the british version he kills the girl, in the nova scotia version (bonny barbry oh) he shrugs and looks for another. but thats another story.

oh hey i just found a version of bonny barbry oh for dulcimer and its much easier to finger pick than on guitar.

"so come down the stairs bonny barby oh"

i bet handsome molly is even easier


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Aug 11 - 10:09 AM

"so come down the stairs bonny barby oh"

I play that one too! It's a good song for dulcimer. I'll look for Handsome Molly.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 02:38 PM

Thanks for the link to that great site leeneia, it's given me lots of ideas. Just 'rebooting' some songs in my memory is a help.

I've been looking for simple melodies to play, but now, I'm also thinking of singing Bright Morning Stars, and accompanying myself with simple strummed chords on the dulcimer.

btw the century is the 1800's and the country is USA. (northeast) But I think any songs with that historical 'flavor' will suffice.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 04:31 PM

This dulcimer isn't actually appalachian. It may be best-known today as being played there, but that's just an accident of history. The Scotch-Irish of the mid-south got it from the Pennsylvania Dutch, who came from the Rhineland. Since the Rhine goes through French and German lands, the dulcimer was probably known, if perhaps not well-known, in those regions. Before that, who knows?

It's just another member of the great zither group. You can tune it DAA or DAD and play in a major scale, or you can tune it DAG and play minor. (There are other tunings, but I don't know how to use them.) Just to show the variety it can play, I'll list a few of the tunes I do. These are DAA.

Salve Regina (1200's)
Never love thee more (1600's)
Polly-wolly doodle (1904)
Ascot Gavotte 1950's
Wildwood flower 1850
Yellow bird, up high in banana tree - Caribbean
When I fall in love, it will be forever (pop song)
The man on the flying trapeze - Tin Pan Alley
Peace in the Valley - bluesy

What's missing? Any popular stuff after 1980, when our radio died. Also, fast jigs and reels, which I personally find boring to play. I like to use a thumbpick to play the melody and keep my other fingers free to play various kinds of accompaniment. I can always strum if I want to, but if I don't want to, I'm free to play other ways.


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Subject: RE: appalachian dulcimer
From: GUEST,Irish dulcimer player
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 04:32 PM

Check out Friends of the mountain dulcimer, American site nearly 2000 members from all over the world. Great audios, videos and loads of info.    Yours in dulcimer playing Bogman.


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