Do you play by ear or by sight?
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
I play with the fingers...found it hard to hit the right notes with my ears....
I play with the fingers...found it hard to hit the right notes with my ears....
Wow! What an interesting thread! I should sharpen up my linguistics should I have a mind to enter into this tale that is being woven.
I recall trying to search out the meaning or origin of dulcimer. Somewhere (perhaps it was over the rainbow?) I read that the word dulce was German and meant sweet. I suppose it could be Latin and Greek as Goschi states.
Anyway, I think that I concluded sweet for Dulce and that the other half would be music, so I like to think of it as "sweet music".
However, to throw something else that I don't know the exact origin to is that my cousins from New Brunswick, Canada call seaweed Dulce. I have tried it and find it is anything but sweet! Of course, my cousins look at me as if I"m kinda strange , especially not only because I don't like "dulce" but that I don't drink my tea with milk!
Well, that's my tale and I'm sticking to it...until a better one comes along!
Definitely a keeper and a heck of a find. It's sort of how I got my first dulcimer. I stopped at a flea market and this dulcimer was sitting on a table and the wind was actually making music on the strings. I had never seen nor heard of one at the time. The fellow selling it gave me a brief rundown of how he came on it and asked if $30 was a fair price...he said he had bought it for $20. I replied for someone who knows the instrument it probably is. I then started to walk away and he asked if I had $25 for it. I thought for a couple of seconds and figured that if I didn't like it, I could probably get my money back from selling it. Well, I still have that dulcimer!
Not too much that I can add to this discussion. I haven't flown in many years now. However, when I used to fly about once or twice a year, I never had any problem, but that was a while ago.
I always stowed my dulcimer in the overhead bin and would keep an eye on things to make sure someone didn't try to jam things up against it. But now with tighter regulations and passengers attempting to carry all their gear by carry-ons, it certainly has become a different game.
On one flight I was seated in the mid section of a plane near the front (not first class) and there wasn't enough room, so the flight attendant stored it nearby in another section and showed me where it would be and she was very polite and asked if there was anything else I needed.
Your idea of adopting an orphan is someone's unwanted dulcimer.
Your Bumpah stickah says, "I brake for Dulcimer Jams".
Your tattoo of your Dadd is a three-string dulcimer on your forearm.
I just have to say that I may have gotten into a bit of a "mixed metaphor". Holden Caulfield from J D Salinger's novel Catcher in The Rye didn't say that, but instead asked "where do the ducks go in the winter?"
It appears that Indiana poet, James Whitcomb Riley may have actually been the first to coin the phrase when he wrote "when I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck."
This quote also seems to have been said by Theodore Roosevelt at one time and it was also used during the McCarthy trials for communism.
I have it in two of my dulcimer books: The first from the Dulcimer Book by Jean Ritchie, and the second from Aubrey Atwaters arrangement of the Ritchie version in her book, Song by Song.
I don't see that anyone else addressed this problem with your dulcimer about the separation that you found on the back, but a dulcimer or other instrument maker/repair person should be able to fix it. I had a little separation on the back of one of mine and took it to someone who was able to add some filler and fix the problem. He was someone who has worked around instruments for a long time. In fact, years ago there was an article on him in Dulcimer Player news.
What a wonderful gift. You are so blessed.
Thanks Wayne. I have seen Aubrey Atwater play one a couple of times, but didn't know what it was called.
Once again, thanks to all of your replies...it really helps, although, it's going to take this musically challenged dulcimer player a while to learn some of the valuable information that you have provided.
I have discovered that part of my problem is that I am playing in a country jam and they tend to play in a particular rhythm that throws me totally off. I go up to take my turn and even though I know my song well, I hear their rhythm and I can't shake it out of my head.
I did have the good fortune to play this past week and it did happen yet once again. But a gentleman who has often encountered the same thing recognized that it was happening to me while I was playing "Blowin' in the Wind" and he came to within earshot of me and got me into the right rhythm with his mandolin.
I will have to display my ignorance here Strumelia as I haven't heard of a "limberjack".
Perhaps the one thing that I failed to mention is that in this particular setting, it would be nigh impossible for me to change my tuning as there is too much noise (well, music and sound is probably a better description) going on and my tuner won't know what to tune the strings to.
Thanks to all of you who have responded to my question. It is helpful. The particular dulcimer that I have been bringing to the jam doesn't have the 6 1/2 fret. I bring this one for two reasons: It is the one that I seem to play the most (my first one) and it has a case. I like your responses and will have to see if I can improve my playing in the jam while experimenting with your suggestions. Thanks again. Ben
I have been playing in a jam session which happens on an every other week venue. Most of the participants play the guitar, a couple may play a harmonica, one plays drums, maybe a mandolin and a fiddle or two. All play and one at a time each one gets to the microphone to do his or her song while the group plays back up.
The question is always, "what key are you playing in?" Responses will vary, but Key of G, D or A, etc. Seldom is the title of the song given, but sometimes it is.
I take my turn and say what key (usually D) and tell them the song.
I guess, the question that I have is how does one play the Key of A, for example, and often not even know the song until it is started by the performer?
And what do I do or play when I'm playing back up? Not that I'm heard over 20-30 instruments....
While everyone is certainly welcomed to their personal opinion, and may I say that indeed as many of us as are on here, that could be a lot of opinions, I would have to paraphrase something that I heard Elton John say in regards to a compilation of songs that he wrote that were interpreted by other artists: That it would be okay with him. After all, each one has a different take on a song and it makes it theirs to do with whatever, be it country-western, pop, jazz or even rap. His song was still his song and he admired those who did make another interpretation as an artist. You can hear that on his Two Rooms CD, in songs such asThe Bitch is Back andPhiladelphia Freedom.
Speaking of hanging on the wall, I know one at an establishment that I frequent from time to time that has one hanging on the wall. The guy is a guitar player and I think someone gave it to him. For a long time I would go to pay my tab and just strum across the strings with it on the wall. Then a few visits ago, I got brave, took it down from the wall and played it. He didn't mind. It's an eatery, so there is some grime that has settled onto the dulcimer, but it still sounds nice...needs to be cleaned up and played.
No idea, but I own 9 mountain dulcimers, plus 1 hammered dulcimer.
Yay! 5000...are there really that many people who play and listen to the dulcimer? Beware! We are taking over...we'll blast you out!
The years that I've owned this particular dulcimer (about 20 years now), I have been asked if it was homemade and if I had made it. So, I suspect that it could have been one that someone did make in their wood shop or garage. Isupposethat I will never know that. But, regardless, it is the search for the identity of the maker of the instrument based on the booklet which led me to this wonderful site of mountain dulcimeraficionados.
Pristine2, Thanks for you comments. I suspect that you are probably right. As I had stated earlier, there is nothing to indicate who the maker of the instrument was. All that I did have was the booklet by Jeffreys, which is still in my possession. All I know of the history was that the man I bought it from at the flea market in Houlton had paid $20 and was looking for $30, to which I turned away only because I knew nothing of the dulcimer (hadn't heard or seen one at that point in time) and I didn't have a musical background, so $30 really didn't have much appeal to me. However, as I turned to go away, he asked if I had $25 for it and (coincidentally that was what I had in my pocket) I thought for a minute that what would I be risking...if I didn't like it I could probably get my investment back, so I paid the man and thus far have purchased 7 more paying a few dollars more than my original investment.
So, anyway, I learned to play and enjoy the instrument and the rest is my story...which I am sticking to....
This is the dulcimer that may be a Jeffrey's model.
Thanks for the reply. As I said, there is nothing to indicate the maker of the instrument. I will get my camera out in a couple of days and post a few pictures of this particular dulcimer. That may help to identify it. I also had a case made specifically for this one. I will post more later.
I believe that I may have an early model of an A W Jeffreys, Jr. dulcimer. When I purchased it in Houlton, Maine a number of years ago, it came with the booklet that has been mentioned earlier. It is the revised version (1964) that I have. However, the dulcimer is not signed, so it is possible that someone could have made a copy of one of Jeffrey's dulcimers. The description is similar. The action was high, but I had it lowered.
Anyway, I wanted to comment on this thread...after all, it was a search for information on Jeffreys that has led me to this site and I think it is going to be a good place to hang out.