BTW --- my wife plays autoharp (sounds great with dulcimer) BUT she refuses to name her autoharps - even though she loves my names. Go Figure.
Naming Our "Babies"?
I suppose I'm one of the "Strange Ones" that names their dulcimers. I have "5" with names (4 of them are named after my wife's grandmothers and mine). Louise, Lola, Gertrude & Mary Francis. My Tennessee Flat Box is "Jesse James" - named after my father (Jesse) and my wife's father (James). We never had a son to name J.J. --- 3 daughters instead and Holly, Krista or Bethany just don't sound like dulcimer names.
I don't normally name things like this (and I don't really name my treadle sewing machines either, except that I have too many Singers to just call them Singer.) When I got this dulcimer, I decided to call it Alta Bell. That was my maternal grandmother's name. She wasn't particularly musical but it seemed like a good name for an instrument.
Different strokes for different dulcimer folks. I just think of my instruments as having a soul of sorts; released as they get played in and attuned to me. Names personalize that feeling for me. And just for the record, I name my tools also. My screwdriver is named Lucille and I call my hammer Trigger; with apologies to B.B. King and Willie Nelson.
I don't name any of my instruments. Most of them are just called by the name of the builder; e.g., the Folkcraft, the Blue Lion, the Thomas, the Prichard, Number 1 (the first one I built), etc. The same goes for my banjos and guitars. They are tools to help me make music. I don't name my screw drivers, wrenches, pliers, chisels, or other tools either. It doesn't mean that I do not care for or cherish them.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
I have always named my instruments for the simple reason that, as space in the house is limited and accidents will happen, they live in their cases in thee olde musick closet unless I take them out for a stroll. All black cases. All black, identical cases... So I write their names on paper luggage tags and attach them to the handles of their respective cases. Makes it a lot easier to find the one I am looking for. As for names, the last in was the circa 1890-1910 home-made baby I posted about a week or so back. When it arrived I took a long look at it and thought 'Ohio' for provenance, but no good name came to me - though I considered 'Buckeye'. But then we were watching an old Andy Griffith rerun Friday night in which Andy had a scene with the old codger named in this episode Jubal, Jud in others, and I thought "thats it!" I looked up Jubal on the internet and found that he was a descendant of Cain and is credited as being the "father of all who play the harp and flute". As I am also learning to play the fife, I knew I hit this one on the head. Serendipity strikes!
Leah Crosley said:
I daughter's think my dulcimer's sound is reminicent to a harpsicord. Is that good?
my newest dulcimer is called Ol' Hickory it's made from 99% reclaimed Indiana hickory. has a high sweet voice.
"I daughter's think my dulcimer's sound is reminicent to a harpsicord. Is that good?"
If you or she like that sound it certainly is good. Narrower, thinner dulcimers (smaller interior volume) tend to have a "high silvery sound" deeper, wider dulcimers tend to have a more "mellow" or "bass/baritone" or "guitar-like" sound. Which you prefer is up to you. I had "mellow" instruments, but as a traditional N&D stylist, I came to love the high silvery sound of the more traditional instruments, and that's all I have today.
As far as naming them -- no. Except in the sense "my Thomas replica" or "my Virginia Hogfiddle"
The little Craigslist dulcimer that I bought over the weekend was made in the early 1970s in Texas. So naturally, I'm calling her "Tex". Haven't named the other two I have yet though... Will have to wait until something strikes me. Tex sounds better than "that Craigslist dulcimer".
I assume dulcimers to be female -- especially the hourglass dulcimers, for obvious reasons.
Mr. B. B. King named his guitar "Lucille", so why not name our dulcimers girl's names?
Anyway, there doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rule about it.
One could argue the case for Galax dulcimers being male by observing their pot-bellied appearance.
I have a habit of naming inanimate objects myself. For example, my two-tooth partial plate is called "Chip and Dale"
My android device is called "Rufus". But I have never named any instrument I have owned - funny. My "Uncle Eddie" is just called the Thomas, and imagine my new ones will be called The Homer (Ledford)and The Warren (May).
I've been naming my dulcimers for a couple years now. I think I first read of the idea from Clare Chu.
My dulcimers have names derived from the Bible (KJV), and are usually from the Psalms. I think of an appropriate word to use from a verse, then I cite the entire verse on an inside label. For example, my wormy chestnut dulcimer is named "Heritage" from the verse in Psalm 16:6: "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly heritage." And I wanted the name to have a historic sound, since the chestnut wood I used to make it was over 100 years old, and the dulcimer design was, too.
Okay, so I was just wondering, is it normal for people to name their dulcimers?
I'd like to name mine and I have a name picked out for her (at least I'm pretty sure mine's a girl). I just don't know if I should go ahead and take the plunge.
If I do name her, I'd like to name her Alliefair.
Do y'all think that's a nice name?*
There's a reason behind it.
*Bonus points if ya know how I got it. And yes it is vaguely dulcimer related.
updated by @kitty-l: 03/02/19 02:11:42PM