What’s your favourite playing style and why?
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
The appeal of noter-drone? Okay, an analogy. I used to love a bacon sandwich, which I'd usually have with ketchup. Every now and again there'd be no ketchup available and I'd be stuck with a 'plain' bacon sandwich, and every time that happened I'd think 'yummy - I forget how tasty bacon is on its own'. But I'd always go back to having ketchup just because of the temptation to add 'extra' flavour.
Noter-drone playing is the plain bacon sandwich. The pure flavour of the dulcimer's basic sound, the melodies being played, and the expression in the performance, are front and centre. I've never even experimented with chord-melody because I don't want to get used to the superficially appealing 'extra' flavour of harmonic progressions (ketchup!), and risk overpowering or smothering the main ingredient.
That, and the fact that being familiar with guitar, chording on a dulcimer would just feel weird and upside down. Whereas playing noter- drone feels enjoyably and completely different. I like the slipping and sliding, working out little variations, focusing on the melody. And the fact that the learning curve is so smooth and rewarding - you can be playing a tune in no time when you start out, then just have fun with it as you gain confidence and pick up new techniques.