Peter Tommerup


Location: Saratoga, CA
Country: US

My Latest Followers:

Tony Wyant Patricia Delich Dusty Turtle Doug Berch Jeannie in Paradise


youtube videos: 10
images: 17
videos: 1

Peter Tommerup at French jam session

musician/member name:
Duration: 00:03:18
This is a live video of a French jam session in San Francisco that friends and I are playing in. The instruments and tunes are traditional to rural French folk dance music. We are playing 2 bourrees. It's best to watch in a dark room, as it was a stormy day and the video is kinda dark. NOTE: this could be the 1st video of mountain dulcimer and French bag pipes playing together!
Peter Tommerup
06/19/12 08:13:29PM @peter-tommerup:

Hi Barry,

I'm delighted to hear that you have enjoyed the videos!Grin.gif Grin.gif Grin.gif

I think you're on to something in your comment: technical proficiency in playing an instrument really only takes you so far. You also need to discover how to help the music to "flow" through you via fingers to instrument. For me, playing with my musical friends is that "secret ingredient" that helps me to relax and let "the flow" just kinda happen. It's a bit of an oversimplification, but playing music you love on an instrument you love with folks you love to play with is really HARD TO BEAT!

And, yes, we all do love playing traditional music and experience a lot of joy from discovering how to "breathe new life into it" together. For us, I think this is both an artistic expression and a community expression. And I guess that perhaps because we sorta stir our own souls when we play together (when we're lucky) that we may sometimes manage to touch other's in this way as well. It's a nice thought, anyway.Grin.gif

Anyway, I hope you're having a whale of a good time at KMW!

All the best,


Peter Tommerup
06/16/12 07:38:35PM @peter-tommerup:


BTW, I wrote an article a few years ago for DULCIMER SESSIONS that describes French folk dance music and talks about why I think it's a pretty "dulcimer friendly" repertoire. If you check it out, let me know what you think. There is also a lovely French waltz (La Marianne) TABBED out. It's written up in chord melody style and in DAd, but I bet it would sound very nice played noter-drone out of DAA (for instance). Would enjoy hearing "your take" if you like it at all.Grin.gif

ALSO, my wife (Lee Anne) and I play it in in a video of the Redwood Dulcimer Day festival concert a few years ago. Bing Futch put it out in a "Dulcamerica" podcast. Our playing starts about 1/2 way through the video, and is preceded by Neal Helman and Janet Herman playing a lovely duet together."La Marianne" is the first of the 3 tunes we play.

Here's the link:



Peter Tommerup
06/16/12 07:27:02PM @peter-tommerup:

Hi Robin,

Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed the French session!Grin.gif Grin.gif Grin.gif

Interesting observation about Welsh sessions having a similar sort of feel and sound. And I bet dulcimer would definitely add some sparkle and shimmer and overall presence!

Part of this similarity in sound to Welsh and Breton music may have to do with the presence of the pipes. If an energetic hurdy gurdy player had been playing with us, it probably would have sounded a bit more distinctively French. As you said, there is a sorta close similarity between Welsh and Breton folk dance tunes. And the French tunes certainly sound closer to Breton and Welsh tunes to me than do Scottish, Irish or Old Timey.

But the two pieces we're playing in the the video--"Bourree du Cusset" & "Derriere Chez Nous" ("Behind Our House")--are traditional French folk dance tunes from the Massif Central region of France. There is a very rich vein of folk music here, but it is little known and seldom heard outside of that area.

The sonic similarities are quite striking, though.

All the best,


Peter Tommerup
06/16/12 07:11:18PM @peter-tommerup:


So glad you enjoyed it!Grin.gif


Peter Tommerup
06/16/12 07:10:09PM @peter-tommerup:


Good luck with practicing up a storm on your new MD!Grin.gif

If you're up for something NEW that's not too challenging and is a very pretty French waltz, you can check outmy article on French music and my TAB arrangement of the waltz "La Marianne" at:

This was actually the first French tune I learned about 11 years ago. It's still one of my favorites! I suspect that you'll find it quite playable if you're at all comfortable in DAd tuning and are familiar with the basic chords we often use in the key of D. Dusty Turtle recoded a video of this arrangement and posted it here on FOTMD a few months ago.Grin.gif



Robin Clark
06/14/12 04:46:09PM @robin-clark:

I really enjoyed that Pete. Grin.gif

It sounds very similar to Welsh tune sessions around these parts with pibgorn and pibe cryn, flute, fiddle, harp and accordian. I have used my Galax at those Welsh sessions to provide a little rhythmic shimmer at the top of the mix Smile.gif

Are the tunes you are playing indicitive of Breton? I know that Welsh and Breton traditional tunes are very similar and I could just as easily slip those two tunes into a Welsh trad session and no one would notice!!!!


Karen Keane
06/14/12 04:11:20PM @karen-keane:

That was toe tappin' fun! Great!

Kit Wells
06/14/12 02:36:43PM @kit-wells:

Hi Peter,

I can knock out some Cajun stuff on my accordion and sing a bit in French, not wonderfully well but...will practice as much as possible on my new McSpadden from Robin Clark so I can vary a very limited repertoire. We're pretty busy during the summer here in Charente (Cognac Blues Festival in July amongst other musical events) but I'll certainly try to get over to Saint Chartier. Amicalement, Kit

Peter Tommerup
06/14/12 02:31:56PM @peter-tommerup:

Hi John,

Thanks for commenting on the balance of the mix of instruments! Grin.gif It isn't especially easy to balance a mountain dulcimer and a bag pipe!

But I'm also pleased with the way this turned out. Part of it is because several of us have performed together for a while, part of it is due to the microphone that was near us, and part--as you probably know from making recordings--is just plain luck. Recording an informal jam session doesn't always come out the way you hope it will.



Peter Tommerup
06/14/12 02:23:30PM @peter-tommerup:

Hi Kit,

Hope you have fun if you make it to St Chartier!

Do you play some French tunes? They bring a wonderful new musical dimension to dulcimer playing.Grin.gif



Peter Tommerup
06/14/12 02:19:41PM @peter-tommerup:

Hi John,

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the video of the 2 bourrees! I love playing French tunes with my French tune buddies.Grin.gif

I've heard lots about the St Chartier festival, but have not yet made it there myself. Everything I've heard has been great! Hope you have fun the next time you nip over there!



Peter Tommerup
06/14/12 02:14:02PM @peter-tommerup:


Merci boucoups!Grin.gif


John Keane
06/13/12 07:34:12AM @john-keane:

I love how well the instruments are balanced within the group. Well done!

Kit Wells
06/13/12 05:33:49AM @kit-wells:

Thanks also for posting Pete and especially too to John Henry for his comment. You've provided me with a possible new social dimension! I can drive to Saint Chartier in a few hours. I had a look at their summer programme online and it's very encouraging. I shall visit soon I hope.Grin.gif

John Henry
06/13/12 04:51:23AM @john-henry:

Thanks for posting this Peter 41.gif , living where I do it has been easy in the past to 'nip over' to France and enjoy similar music, some of the best musical experiences in my life were had at a place named 'Saint Chartier', location of a centuries old music festival. Squeeze boxes, hurdy gurdies, pipes, all night dancing18.gif more pipes, (my hammered dulcimer, lol) all with an appropriate amount of good Red Wine !!! I don't get about quite so much now, so this video brought back some great memories !113.gif

my regards


Peter Tommerup
06/12/12 08:45:38PM @peter-tommerup:

Dusty, I noticed that you asked: "What is your source for all this French music, Peter? Is there an essential anthology as there is for Irish fiddle tunes?"

Well, my favorite source for these wonderful French folk dance tunes are my 3 band mates, Both Alan and Gary have been playing this music for about 30 years, have attended many festivals in France, and are very very knowledgeable. Have been playing French tunes and jamming with them for about a decade.

There are a couple of books that are the principal printed source that we refer to, but they may be hard to find. They are THE MASSIF CENTRAL TUNE BOOK 1 & 2 (1987 & 1988) by Mel Stevens and originally published by Dragonfly Music in the UK. Compared to O'Neil's Music of Ireland , they are small: about 120 tunes in each.

I am working on a book of French tunes for MD. At this point, I have about 50 TABBED out. Most likely, not all would go in the book. Just need to get inspired to finish it. Grin.gif

All the best,


Peter Tommerup
06/12/12 08:28:50PM @peter-tommerup:

Hi Patty,

Thanks for your comment! So glad that you enjoyed the tunes and the instruments. Traditional French tunes are a great repertoire to play on MD. Vive la France! Grin.gif


Patty from Virginia
06/12/12 08:10:15PM @patty-from-virginia:

This is cool!!! All the instruments sound like they were made for each other... if that makes sense. I loved this. Thanks for postingGrin.gif

Peter Tommerup
06/12/12 07:05:19PM @peter-tommerup:

BTW, I'll be teaching a French bourree or two in my "HAMBOS, BOURREES & HORNPIPES" workshop at REDWOOD DULCIMER DAY in the Santa Cruz, CA area this summer (Aug 18). For more info go to: and check out the workshops page for the workshop description.

Hope you'll consider joining in on all the fun we'll be having!Grin.gif


Peter Tommerup
06/12/12 06:58:40PM @peter-tommerup:

Hi Dusty,

Yeah, you guessed it! The magical "pixie dust" someone sprinkled on my possum board was that someone shoved a microphone in front of my instrument just before we played that medley of bourrees. Thevertical chrome bar you can barely see in front of my possum board is the mic stand.

The person shooting the video was standing next to the piper, so that's part of why the pipe is so prominent. The other part is that the pipes are (of course) VERY loud. Interestingly, however, my dulcimer on possum board is louder than you might expect, and can be heard if you're near to it when we play. But the microphone really helped to balance the mix!Grin.gif