Dulcimer Players News demise
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
I just received the last the glossy printed issue of DPN. The next two issues, the final ones, will be printed using a Risograph machine which is a step above a mimeograph. Ashley Ernst, the publisher/editor of DPN, explains the reasons for this in this issue's editorial. I understand the reasons for this decision as the magazine folds. The editorial made me not only wax nostalgic about the early days of DPN, but also speculate what a future will be like without the quarterly journal showing up in my post office box. Almost from the inception of DPN it has been a constant companion on my dulcimer journey both hammered and mountain. It was the place I turned to for information about other players and builders. It connected me folks who shared a love of these instruments as well as kept me abreast of the what was happening in the dulcimer world. My chosen vocation kept me from attending any dulcimer festivals until late in the 1990s. Contact with other players in those days was infrequent. The magazine was there to encourage me and sustain.
Times have changed; we all know that. Many print publications have ceased to exist or gone digital. I have to confess that when something to which I subscribed has converted to digital editions, I've stopped reading them. It's probably my age, but I find it difficult to sit with a computer on my lap to read for any length of time. The same is true for sitting in front of my desk top computer. It is more tiring on my eyes than holding and reading a paper magazine. I do read a good amount of material online, e.g., here at FOTMD, TTAD, and ED as well as at non-dulcimer related websites.
Beyond the nostalgia, I wonder what effect this will have on dulcimer makers, players, instructors, festivals, etc. One avenue of getting the word about performances and products will disappear. The sharing of dulcimer history. which for a long time was a feature of DPN, will occur now only among a small number of people on the web.The exposure of the larger dulcimer community to these niche interests will be reduced. So will the exposure of the builders, performers, merchants, and others involved with various aspects of the dulcimer world.
I know we have this site, TTAD, ED, and various social media outlets to discuss and share news about and our love the dulcimer. I participate in those, but it is not the same. The information on social media sites is transient. For the most part you can't go back and look up something that caught your attend. Websites are a little more permanent but not like the archiving of a magazine. How often does one try find a link, photo, or other file on the web only to discover it has disappeared? We live in a world of impermanence.
So what does the future hold? I don't have a crystal ball. I do have some more thoughts. We will adapt. One door closes and another one opens. I don't really know what that will be. I'm sure those who desire to share knowledge about the mountain dulcimer (and the hammered dulcimer) will find effective ways to get the word out. I'm not sure how that word will be preserved.
Lately I've been reading a few books about the Civil War. What strikes me about these books is the amount of material that comes from written diaries and letters.What will the biographers and novelists who write about our time use as primary source material?
Well, if you have read this far, I commend you for sticking with me. I am interested in what you think, so perhaps you will share your thoughts here.
Finally, thank you to all those who contributed to DPN over the years; from the publishers, to the writers, to the advertisers, to the subscribers. All you have had a tremendous influence on my life. I wish you all the best andI look forward to our next chapter whatever that may be.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."