Ken Longfield


Location: Reedsville, PA
Country: US

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Berea Traditional Dulcimer Gathering -(KY)

Berea Traditional Dulcimer Gathering -(KY)

Thursday May 16 2019, 2:00 PM
@ Berea College, Berea, KY
Attendees:  @Dan@David Bennett@Slate Creek Dulcimers@Robin Thompson@Ken Hulme@John C. Knopf@dulcinina@haydee025@sbarnett524@jcurtis55@Glenda Hubbard@Ballad Gal@tndulcimer

May 16 – 19, 2019
Berea College, KY

Welcoming folks interested in learning dulcimer history and traditional playing styles..

* Emphasis on traditional dulcimer history and playing
* Emphasis on  noter & drone, fingerdancing andr bowing
* Emphasis on modes in DAA, Ddd, DAC, DAG or equivalent tunings as necessary
* All skill levels

* Experienced and knowledgeable players will mentor and teach folks in these areas. 
* No attendance fee
* Attendees get a free noter and quill

Attendees stay at a residence hall on the Berea College campus in downtown Berea, KY. Bring your own bed linen, pillow and toiletries including a towel. COST: $25 per night.

Campus Dining Services All You Can Eat 3-meal/day plan: $20-23 per day. 

* DAILY TOPIC – lecture or playing lesson on some aspect of traditional dulcimers or dulcimer history.
* DAILY TOUR -- historically important dulcimer-related locations, museum collections, etc. Tours are by carpool.
* Builders/Historic displays/Traditional Vendors – no charge for space 
* Playing individually or in small groups, whenever and wherever 
* Open Mic Night

Laid back, relaxed:
* Morning topic, afternoon tour
* Morning tour, afternoon topic
* Playing in small groups when/wherever


Topics and Tours TBA...

01/16/19 09:48:17PM @irene:

Hi there folks, There is a weird sign up form and asking if they can have access to my everything google....accounts and such.  So I didn't sign up that way.   Just know that I'll be coming and I'm excited to come and so looking forward to this.  ON MY CALENDAR.  aloha, irene

Randy Adams
01/16/19 05:42:27PM @randy-adams:

This looks like fun! I'd like to go if I feel like it when the time comes to leave.

Ken Longfield
10/25/18 08:57:51AM @ken-longfield:

Thank you for your interest in having me at the Gathering Irene. The date for the Gathering is already booked with Berea College and there are other folks involved in the planning and presentation of this event. I would not ask to have everyone else inconvenienced because the company hosting our tour of Italy had to change their dates. Go to Berea and have fun. You will meet very knowledgeable folks who enjoy traditional noter/drone style playing. You will get to see some fantastic instruments. If the group decides to meet again in 2020, I plan to be there.


"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

10/24/18 09:51:12PM @irene:

yep, I looked at all the photos that were taken and posted here when you folks were to meet at the Hindman.    I'm sorry you are not going to be there as I was going to ask you to bring the dulcimer that you hold in your photo Ken. Thanks for your publising this so far and I'll look forward to more information as it becomes available.   What if you put off THIS GATHERING one week so you could attend?  aloha, irene

Ken Longfield
10/24/18 12:17:11PM @ken-longfield:

More specific information will be coming in 2019 which will include how to reserve housing and meals at the college. We are a loosely organized group of dulcimer enthusiasts who are putting this together as a gathering. It is informal. It came about because of the cancellation of the Hindman Dulcimer Homecoming last year. I just received word yesterday that a trip my wife and I are taking to Italy which was to be before the gathering was moved by a week and will include the dates of the gathering. I am disappointed that I will miss the gathering as last years gathering came about at my suggestion. I am continuing to work with the planning the group. I am sure everyone will have a great time.


"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Kevin R.
10/24/18 11:59:34AM @kevin-r:

Glenda Hubbard:

 Is there a registration form for this event ? Do I need to make a reservation for the residents hall and the dining service?

I was wondering this same thing. I also was wondering if there was anyone in particular who is "in charge" and responsible for fielding questions about the event?

Glenda  Hubbard
10/24/18 10:20:13AM @glenda-hubbard:

 Is there a registration form for this event ? Do I need to make a reservation for the residents hall and the dining service?

10/23/18 11:32:24PM @irene:

THIS IS THE FIRST THING I'LL BE PUTTING ON MY 2019 CAL LENDER....thank you so very much.  aloha, irene

Richard Streib
09/03/18 07:36:40PM @richard-streib:

I attended the impromptu gathering last year. The event will be held on the campus of a college so I would think it would be ADA accessible.

09/03/18 06:27:47PM @dan:


Would this event and housing be ADA accessible as per wheelchair use?

09/03/18 05:31:24PM @sbarnett524:

Would this event and housing be ADA accessible as per wheelchair use?

06/30/18 07:13:19AM @haydee025:

Being a new dulcimer enthusiast and player, this is exactly what I was hoping for. I will be there, and can’t wait till Spring!


Ken Longfield
05/09/18 03:51:40PM @ken-longfield:

Thanks, Dan. You're the man!


"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

05/09/18 03:43:00PM @dan:

Web site mirrored.

Robin Thompson
05/08/18 10:05:50PM @robin-thompson:

Yay!  I love the changes.  

I'm a (mostly) known quantity to many have posted here and am a dedicated noter player.  While I cannot pretend to understand the sensibilities of noter players long-gone, I always wish to honor their memory and keep the ever-flowing stream of noter play alive.  

05/08/18 05:58:25PM @strumelia:

Ken, I think the changes you made to the description are great.   :)

John C. Knopf
05/08/18 05:43:27PM @john-c-knopf:

Greg, you gotta come to this!  And bring some of your arsenal of traditional dulcimers for us to gawk at and hear.  Seems like a natural for you in particular, being such an avid history buff.

05/08/18 05:14:11PM @greg-gunner:

It sounds to me that the organizers are making an effort to repeat and share a unique experience they had this past spring.  It can't be denied that most dulcimer festivals/workshops emphasize modern playing styles with an over-emphasis on one tuning, D-A-d.  The traditionalists behind the spontaneous dulcimer history tour that took place when this year's Hindman Gathering was cancelled are seeking to offer an alternative to the norm.   

Readers, who have followed their previous posts on FOTMD and ED, can recognize the names of some of the most knowledgeable dulcimer historians out there.  Next Spring's gathering is not (to my understanding) meant for those who play exclusively in D-A-d or those that play in a chord-melody style.  With no formalized classes the attendees are free to take the gathering in any way they wish, but the intent is to explore the history of the mountain dulcimer through daily tours and exchanging ideas.  That history emphasized 1-5-5 tuning (usually closer to C-G-G than D-A-A) and unison tuning.  To my knowledge 1-5-8 tunings (such as D-A-d) were not frequently used by those who grew up in the tradition (Jean Ritchie, Frank Proffitt, Nettie Hicks Presnell, Raymond Melton, etc.).  I would expect those attending this gathering to either be competent in modal tunings or willing to learn modal tunings.  If you play strictly in D-A-d and have no desire to explore other tunings, then this gathering is probably not for you.  Likewise, attendees should expect something different.  My understanding is that there will be no schedule of hourly classes or workshops.  This gathering is intended to fill a void that occurs at most dulcimer festivals.  Those with a more traditional leaning or those wishing to explore traditional playing techniques (noter-style, single-string fingerstyle, strumming with a turkey quill, etc.) and traditional modal tunings (1-5-5, 1-5-4, 1-5-7, and even 1-5-8) should find it to their liking.  Just don't expect a bunch of D-A-d workshops.  There are plenty of opportunities for that at the other workshops/festivals.  From what I've gathered, you can expect a warm-friendly group willing to share everything they've learned over the years.  I don't see it as excluding anyone, just being upfront about what to expect.

I haven't attended a festival in several years, but this one's got me intrigued.  

Ken Longfield
05/08/18 03:29:05PM @ken-longfield:

Lisa, thanks for your input. I found it helpful. I updated the original post to reflect some of your comments and eliminate some things with which I was uncomfortable. If any of the other planners have suggestions or comments, please let me know. I, for one, welcome anyone who is curious about dulcimer history and traditional playing styles to participate and bring whatever instrument he/she owns.

I also like the idea of buttons (name tags) to identify people willing to work with beginners or anyone else for that matter.


"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

05/08/18 02:32:33PM @strumelia:

Just my two cents opinion, but...

I think the event's basic description ought to be adjusted to make it less off-putting.  The way it is written currently, it's easy for interested folks who are brand new to noter playing (and are not sure they will like it) to feel they'd not be welcome.

Events with descriptions that include lots of "No" statements tend to give off negative vibes that they just want to keep people away.  Wording changes can keep folks from getting either confused (as is already happening) or feeling turned off from the start.

-->  Though perhaps not intended, the current wording actually does imply that they should bring an 'authentic' pre-revival style reproduction instrument, and should not attend if they don't have one yet. People can learn and play in traditional noter or fingerdancing styles on modern dulcimers.

-->  the current wording says the use of DAd tuning is not permitted. In fact, DAd is a 'traditional' modal tuning for playing mixolydian tunes and for fingerdancing or noter playing. (How does one play Old Joe Clark in noter style?)  Perhaps better to focus on the style of playing- as in keeping the melody on the melody string. Banning a tuning seems odd and negative when it's really the playing style that is being suggested.  With a bit of help from others, newcomers will discover soon enough the big advantage of using DAA when fretting only the melody string, for example.

If someone is interested in learning to play noter style there shouldn't be any possibility of the wording making them feel they might be turned away simply because their dulcimer isn't a period replica, or because of the fear that they'd be confronted and have to learn all new tunings as soon as they arrived.

-->  Nowhere in the description am I seeing anything about help, mentors, or assistance being offered for total dulcimer beginners or for longtime chord players who want to learn how to play in noter style and traditional tunings, or learn some of the traditional ballads and repertoire in the old playing styles.
I understand that there are no formal workshops, but what about newcomers who always fear they would arrive and feel left out, without knowing anything about how to even start?  Perhaps some of you experienced noter players could wear "Mentor" buttons that indicate you are available at all times and happy to help a new noter/fingerdancing player learn how to tune and play?

Personally, I think it's enough to make it clear that fretting for this event will be on the melody string only, with open drone strings and mode-based tunings... as was traditional, and that either noters or fingers can be used to fret the melody string. That would likely achieve what you want without sounding too unwelcoming or scary.

Sorry to butt in with my unsolicited opinions, but I'd hate to see people get turned off before they can even become interested.