A practical workshop week combining multiple strands: mountain dulcimer with both a beginner’s course introducing the instrument with loan instruments available and a more in-depth course suitable for intermediate and/or advanced level players and advanced players of other fretted instruments. Beginners and advanced hammered dulcimer will run alongside this, with both instrumental courses featuring superb tutors from the USA and UK.
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.
Who’s it For?
Halsway Manor Dulcimer Week Programme – click to see a pdf of the programme for the week.
Introducing the dulcimer
Learning the basic techniques of playing the dulcimer and understanding its history and development. These will be fully hands-on sessions, learning by playing, and led by experienced tutors.
Exploring the dulcimer
Developing dulcimer playing techniques in more depth, with more complex pieces. Sessions will also include ensemble playing. Tutors will aim to challenge all participants, whatever their ability level.
For the MD, you will explore dulcimers of different ranges (e.g. soprano, baritone and bass), the potential of different tunings and use of capos, and developing strategies for jam/session playing. Participants will have played the MD to at least an intermediate level and/or have played other fretted instruments to a reasonably advanced stage. Reading music is not required, but may be helpful. Familiarity with tablature would useful. Specialist equipment like noters and quills will be provided, but participants should ideally have their own capo.
For the HD, you will explore tune arrangements, repertoire, ornamentation, harmonies and efficient hammering patterns through a variety of styles of music. Participants will have played the HD to at least an intermediate level. Some knowledge of musical theory, as applied to the HD, would be helpful.
Stephen Seifert is simply one of the best – if not THE best – mountain dulcimer players in the world. Since 1991, his teaching and playing have made him a favourite with dulcimer players all over the world and he has featured as a performer and teacher at hundreds of dulcimer festivals across the US.
Stephen has been a dulcimer soloist with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra since 1996 and is featured on their Warner Classical recording of Connie Ellisor and David Schnaufer’s “Blackberry Winter”, a concerto for mountain dulcimer and string orchestra. The piece continues to be in regular rotation on many classical stations around the U.S.
Dan Landrum, from Signal Mountain, Tennessee, was trained as a percussionist, but took up the hammered dulcimer over 20 years ago. He has now become a leading figure in the dulcimer world, both as a performer and teacher, and as owner/editor of the world-renowned “Dulcimer Players News”.