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Dulcimers at Halsway

Monday 21 May 4pm — Friday 25 May 10am, 2018

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


Full board per person (tuition, activities, tutor's gig, all meals & accommodation):

  • £340 – single ensuite room
  • £309 – sharing an ensuite room
  • £309 – single non-ensuite room
  • £278 – sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, tutor's gig, all meals):

  • £206

Non Resident (tuition, activities, tutor's gig, all meals except breakfast):

  • £191

Following last year’s event, we’re delighted to welcome back Nonsuch Dulcimer Club to host another ‘Dulcimers at Halsway’!

A practical workshop week combining 4 strands: mountain dulcimer with both an Introductory Course for beginners/improvers with loan instruments available, and a more in-depth Exploring Course course suitable for intermediate and/or advanced level players and advanced players of other fretted instruments.

Introductory (beginners/improvers) and Exploring (intermediate/advanced) hammered dulcimer courses will run alongside this. Featuring superb tutors from the USA and UK, there will also be times to socialise and play informally, plus informal evening concerts from the tutors – and from participants!

Click here for a programme for the week.

Click here for the Nonsuch playing level guidelines.

Participants – please complete and return this form.

Mountain Dulcimer (MD)
The Appalachian, or Mountain Dulcimer consists of three or more strings stretched over a long-fretted sound box, held on the lap and played by plucking or strumming.  It derives from the family of fretted zithers found in Northern Europe and Scandinavia.  Developed in the poor hill farming communities of the Southern Appalachians, the dulcimer was adopted by the early folk revival in the 1960s and rose to fame through its use by Richard Farina and Joni Mitchell, and groups such as Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention – even the Rolling Stones!  Today a younger generation of acoustic musicians are discovering its distinctive tones and using it in fresh ways with traditional and contemporary material.

Hammered Dulcimer (HD) 
The Hammered Dulcimer(HD) has a sounding board or box, typically trapezoid in shape, over which strings of increasing length are stretched.  The strings are plucked or, more often, struck by hand-held beaters, commonly known as hammers.  Its origins are lost in history but it probably came from the Far East a thousand years ago, before spreading across most parts of the world.  It was a reasonably popular instrument in the UK before the advent of affordable pianos and until the mid-20th century still had a foothold in the pubs of East Anglia, Birmingham, Northern Ireland and Glasgow.  It was re-discovered for a wider audience in the folk revival era, with players such as Sue Harris and Chris Coe featured in folk-rock supergroups the Albion Band and the New Victory Band.

Who’s it For?

All skills levels will be catered for from beginners to advanced, in both Mountain Dulcimer and Hammered Dulcimer.  We have Mountain Dulcimers available for beginners to borrow; if you need to borrow a Hammered Dulcimer we may be able to arrange this if given sufficient notice.

Please make clear when booking whether you wish to follow the ‘introductory course’ for beginners/improvers or the ‘exploring course’ for intermediate level and above.

Nonsuch Playing Level Guidelines 2016
 – click to see a pdf of playing level guidelines.

The Team 

Aaron O’Rourke from Tennessee, started performing and teaching the mountain dulcimer at age 16. Winner of the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in 2010, he is now one of the very top US players, taking the mountain dulcimer in new directions via a wide range of musical styles. He is also a favourite teacher on the US festival scene.

Dan Landrum also from Tennesse, should need no introduction to UK players.  Freelance percussionist and musician, he came over here in 2016, wowing audiences and students alike. He is also, as editor of the respected Dulcimer Players News publication, an influential voice in the world dulcimer scene.

Sarah Morgan yet again from Tennesse, won the 2012 National Mountain Dulcimer Championship at the age of 18. She is now a phenomenal player with a beautiful and powerful voice, who often performs older Appalachian songs. She is also an increasingly popular teacher on the US scene.

Karen Alley from Ohio, won the 2014 National Hammered Dulcimer Championship. Her repertoire ranges from Celtic to classical, allying percussive techniques to rich harmonies and broad dynamics. She is emerging as a force to be reckoned with on the US festival scene.


Book now