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Civil War Dulcimer??

GUEST,Guest - Rob fender 11 Oct 16 - 11:32 AM
Jeri 11 Oct 16 - 11:43 AM
Jack Campin 11 Oct 16 - 12:56 PM
Bev and Jerry 11 Oct 16 - 12:59 PM
leeneia 12 Oct 16 - 12:26 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Oct 16 - 06:14 AM
Jack Campin 12 Oct 16 - 08:09 AM
Greg F. 12 Oct 16 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,guest 03 Oct 17 - 06:47 PM
leeneia 04 Oct 17 - 10:00 AM
Jack Campin 04 Oct 17 - 10:48 AM
mg 04 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM
Jack Campin 04 Oct 17 - 03:09 PM
leeneia 05 Oct 17 - 01:00 AM
EBarnacle 05 Oct 17 - 06:00 AM
Jack Campin 05 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM
EBarnacle 05 Oct 17 - 09:45 PM
Manitas_at_home 06 Oct 17 - 02:53 AM
Howard Jones 06 Oct 17 - 03:56 AM
Jack Campin 06 Oct 17 - 06:07 AM
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Subject: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: GUEST,Guest - Rob fender
Date: 11 Oct 16 - 11:32 AM

Can the mountain dulcimer really be used in Civil War reenactments?? All my reading puts the beginnings of the dulcimer after the C war. Am I right? (Yes, I know it's early relelatives from Germany etc were around -but the dulcimer as we know it) Thanks!!!


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Oct 16 - 11:43 AM

You already know its history, so I'm guessing you want to know if people would cry 'foul'. I'd think there's no reason someone in that era didn't bring it with them when they emigrated from Germany, or had relatives who did. Of course, you should probably listen to folks more involved in reenacting the I am. (Cuz I'm not)


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Oct 16 - 12:56 PM

They might have brought a scheitholt or a citera, but not an Appalachian dulcimer because they didn't exist in the Old World.


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 11 Oct 16 - 12:59 PM

Rob:

We did a folk music program at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center for about 10 years and each year there was a big re-enactment to the year 1854. Although we were not re-enacters, they were fairly strict about our appearance. For example, we were not allowed to use the autoharp because it had not been invented yet and Jerry was required to trade his pants for more authentic ones which they provided.

However, the dulcimer presented no problem. In the program, we suggested that people traveling the Oregon Trail made a lot of their own things and the dulcimer might have been one of them.

On the other hand, we have heard that Civil War re-enacters can be pretty fussy although we have no first hand experience.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: leeneia
Date: 12 Oct 16 - 12:26 AM

I have searched the web for the history of the mountain dulcimer more than once. Just now I used my Encyclopedia Britannica subscription. All I find are generalizations. I don't find any dates, newspaper references or old photographs.

They say it's Appalachian. Appalachian is a term so vague as to have almost no meaning.   

I feel that nobody can prove either way that the mtn dulcie was around or was not around by the time of the American Civil War.


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Oct 16 - 06:14 AM

lLenty of zithers, epinettes and hommels in Europe as forebears to the dulcimer, so likely enough they were around in some shape or form.

Plenty written about those, see for example Hubert Boone-De Hommel in de Lage Landen, Brussels, 1975 documenting the Flemish and Dutch form of the instrument


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Oct 16 - 08:09 AM

Some shape or form, sure - but not the modern shape.

The good news is that they all play in much the same way whatever they're called and whatever shape they are. So a player doing re-enactments could adapt easily enough to something historically appropriate.

It's more of an issue that we have no record of anybody playing anything other than Old World music on them at that time. Central European waltzes and polkas would be ok, but copying Jean Ritchie is way out of period.


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Greg F.
Date: 12 Oct 16 - 09:21 AM

"Historical re-enactment" .... isn't. And can't be.


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Subject: Early Dulcimer
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 06:47 PM

Can anyone tell me when the first mountain dulcimers were made? Are they legitimate for Civil War or Rev. War reenactment? Something tells me they aren't, but does anyone have some information?


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: leeneia
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 10:00 AM

This article should resolve any doubts.

prof. david schnauffer


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 10:48 AM

From that article:

The Appalachian dulcimer was forged in the melting pot of the wagon roads and river routes of the frontier. The Scots and Irish settlers could hear the drone of the pipes in this sturdy and easily constructed zither and the English found it to be an appropriate accompaniment to their ballads and laments. They reduced the number of strings to just three or four, as wire was a precious commodity in the wilderness, and added a raised fingerboard to allow the playing of quick jigs and reels with a plectrum.

Romanticizing pseudo-Celtic bollocks. With no dates that correspond to any information about what was played on it.

What English laments?

Why would the pipes have mattered, since they were completely abandoned by Scots settlers in the US? (Irish pipes would never even have boarded ship).

If you can get hold of ten feet of musical instrument wire, you can get fifty feet. The strings last for decades and scarcity can't have been a consideration. Moldavia is just as remote from urban civilization as Appalachia, and people got hold of ten or twelve strings for their citeras there. (Perhaps the Americans just didn't have the woodworking skills to make enough pegs).

Maybe some of the books he lists as sources have relevant information, but if so that's a crappy summary of it.


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: mg
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM

Were the scots who settled in us bagpipe players to start with? Were pipes abandoned in cape breton? Where were us scots actually from? What part of scotland, england or ireland?


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 03:09 PM

Scottish pipes were almost always made from African timber and with reed cane from southern Europe. They are also very difficult to make and require the resources of an urban workshop - there are maybe one or two sets in existence made locally in the Highlands from local materials. Irish pipes are even more complicated and have the extra complication of metalwork to deal with. Whereas a dulcimer can be assembled by anyone used to making animal traps.


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: leeneia
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 01:00 AM

For the person who wishes to play an instrument rather than just sit in front of a monitor and argue about it, the article states that the mountain dulcimer was being played by the early 1800's. Thus it would be acceptable at a re-enactment of the American Civil War, which occurred 1861-65.


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: EBarnacle
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 06:00 AM

Jack, almost every sheep herding culture, including the Greeks, has a bagpipe tradition. Although ebony is the preferred wood for Scottish pipes, that may have been a later adoption.


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM

If you're genuinely trying to recreate the sounds of the Civil War era, you want to know what sorts of music really were played, and by who. Fantasy projections of the folk revival onto the society of 100 years before don't help.

We have a pretty good idea of the whole history of Highland pipe making ever since the instrument was introduced from England a bit before 1500. The wood always came from Africa and the turning required more machinery than any peasant culture had. They're nothing like Eastern European pipes (and if the sort of pipe you can cut from a hedgerow with a pocket knife had ever been prevalent in the British Isles it would have made it to the Americas).


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: EBarnacle
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 09:45 PM

So, Jack, you are saying that the Greeks, the Poles, the Balkan peoples, et al, did not have legitimate bagpipes because they were not made of African ebony? There would be an awful lot of surprised people who would lose a part of their folk culture.

While I can accept that there was also a tradition of cutting reeds and making various pipes from them, the English/Scottish/Irish pipes were not the only ones out there.

I do believe the pennywhistle is a development of those reed pipes, as is the Pan pipe.


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 02:53 AM

I don't think that's what Jack meant. He implies there is a major difference that requires fairly sophisticated manufacturing techniques. What was it, Jack, the conical bore?


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 03:56 AM

Pipes are a red herring, and the suggestion that the dulcimer was influenced by British settlers' nostalgia for their native bagpipes (whether Scottish, Irish or English variants) is just fantasy, as Jack says . Drones were a common form of accompaniment and many instruments besides pipes have used them, including the zither family forerunners of the Appalachian dulcimer.


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Subject: RE: Civil War Dulcimer??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 06:07 AM

I think other pipes may have a conical bore too. But Highland pipes are a fantastically optimized piece of woodwork, right at the edge of what is technically feasible (which is why they go wrong so often).

I meant that about making pipes with a pocket knife - that is exactly what you are supposed to be able to do with Hungarian and Black Sea pipes (though makers today cheat and use machinery). Exotic materials from far away are also common - a modern version being the Black Sea pipe, with a double chanter whose (now) traditional timber is umbrella handles. But that kind of peasant tradition died out in Britain and Ireland centuries ago. Pete Stewart has an argument that the standard type of bagpipe in both Scotland and England until the end of the 18th century was a variant of what we now call the "border pipe" - not necessarily African blackwood but nearly as hard to make as a Highland pipe, and nothing like the Eastern European ones:

http://elearning.thepipingcentre.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/PT38_LowlandPipes.pdf

Whistles are related to reeded pipes in some places, particularly Anatolia, where the fingering systems of flutes and parallel-bore oboes are the same. But flutes have had an autonomous evolution as well. There are descriptions of six-hole pipes in Diderot's Encyclopédie which are pretty much like a modern whistle except made of wood, so the English inventors of the tin whistle didn't need to refer to bagpipe designs at all.

Anyway. Back to dulcimers. My bet is that they brought the hackbrett/scheitholt idiom and repertoire with them. Whatever that was. It must be documented for some places in Europe. It usually takes quite a while for an imported instrument to go native and acquire a new repertoire and technique.


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