Where have all the beginners gone, long time passing?
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
The dulcimore is a unique survival of antique musical instruments, and needs explanation. It is oblong, about thirty-four inches in length, with a width at its greatest of about six inches, becoming smaller at each end. Three strings reach from tip to tip, the first and second ones tuned to the same pitch, and the third one forms the bass string. Two octaves and a quarter are marked Out upon the three-quarters of an inch piece of wood that supports, and is just under the strings on the top of the instrument. The Mountaineer "toilers pickin'" it by means of a quill, with which he strikes the three strings at the same time with his right hand, over the gap at the larger end, at the same time using in his left hand a small reed with which he produces the air, or his "single string variations." The music of the dulcimore resembles that of the Scottish bag pipe, in that it is weird and strange. Under its spell on,e finds himself mysteriously holding communion with the gossamer-like manes of the long-departed souls of the palace of Lady Rowena Trevanion, of Tremaine. The dulcimore is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, because the Mountaineers are becoming ashamed'of the musical instrument that stands, with many other things, on the dividing.line between two civilizations. Only a few of them are extant. Within a few more years and this strange old relic of by-gone days will pass, to keep company with
The harp that once thro Tare's Halls
The soul of music shed,
Hangs now as mute on Tara'a Walls,
As if that soul were fled.
The Kentucky Highlanders from a Native Mountaineer's Viewpoint
By Josiah Henry Combs;
J. L. Richardson and Co.,
Lexington, KY 1913