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A Real Polka, Or A Polka-reel, Or...what?


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For what it's worth, I think the term "dulcimer" refers, musicologically, to the family of instruments that includes the hammered dulcimer. Except that in this country, as David says, the HD was in eclipse for decades and the term "dulcimer" just meant MD. They could both be called zithers, I think - "zither" is a rather broad term and perhaps not consistently applied, but it usually means a soundbox with strings on it, but no neck.

As far as I know the word dulcimer refers to the Italian word dulce, meaning soft. There is no historic relation between the hammered and the mountain dulcimer. You can read a lot more about it at: http://www.dakotacom.net/~daddario/dulcimerHistory.pdf

 

Henk

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I'll probably always think of modes as kind of just strange little 'extras' floating around in the universe,...

Well, modes don't define music; they're a way of describing music. Some musical examples -- like 12-tone jazz -- don't fit any of the modal classifications/descriptions. Nothing wrong with that.

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Hey David,

 

Glad to know you "always" do what I ask. Hmmmmm, the possibilities...

 

Wendy,

 

Look on the album and see what it says about dulcimers. Does it say mountain, hammer dulcimers? Or mountain hammer dulcimers?

 

Helen (I was signing off here and then added something. When I looked at it afterwards, it looked like I was addressing comments to myself. Oh well.)

 

Still trying to come up with tasks for David... Suggestions anyone?...Jim...Come on Jim, you ought to be good for this.

Edited by Helen
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For what it's worth, I think the term "dulcimer" refers, musicologically, to the family of instruments that includes the hammered dulcimer. Except that in this country, as David says, the HD was in eclipse for decades and the term "dulcimer" just meant MD. They could both be called zithers, I think - "zither" is a rather broad term and perhaps not consistently applied, but it usually means a soundbox with strings on it, but no neck.

As far as I know the word dulcimer refers to the Italian word dulce, meaning soft. There is no historic relation between the hammered and the mountain dulcimer.

I didn't say there was a historic relation. That they are both zithers is a matter of classification after the fact. The history document linked to by Henk looks like quite a good compilation of information - thanks for the reference!

 

The usual etymology given for "dulcimer" is the combination of Latin and Greek roots "dulce" (sweet) and "melos" (song or music).

 

It is not clear to me why the American form of the fretted box zither came to be called a dulcimer. A (possibly apocryphal) explanation I have heard is that the severe Protestantism of the settlers frowned on the use of musical instruments... but a Biblical reference to a dulcimer provided a loophole. Henk's history suggests that it is because of the similarity of sound between the hammered dulcimer known in England and the other zithers (scheitholt, hummle, etc) brought by European settlers. Not sure if I buy that, but it's possible (and probably just as likely as the explanation I cite), and anyway I suspect nobody really knows.

 

I'll try to shut up now, as this is all way off topic. As a devotee of the mountain dulcimer, I find it hard not to go off on a rant sometimes. :)

 

regards,

Tom

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So, Wendy, are you going to any workshops or festivals? Perhaps next year? I'm dying to meet you and Rhomylly. Well, everyone else too. Samantha and Sharron and Alan and Jim and David and...

Not much going on for me, right now. In fact, the one class in about a year that I was recently planning to go to, a one-night cooking class, was cancelled! Lack of interest, they said...hard to believe, since I'd been to the same teacher's class before and she'd had a lot of interested people. Oh well....eat at Taco Bell, I guess, who cares if I can't cook...

 

hehe, really I can cook alright, it was not an essential class.

 

As for concertina....

 

I never made it to the Portsmouth Maritime Festival this year; I had to drive out to something at my daughter's college at the same time, then she was home, and while I really did want to go, I do like to see my daughter, too, and I think she still needs to come home sometimes....

 

I never made it to the Squeeze-In, though I'd really planned on going, for a combination of reasons.

 

I may NEVER make it to much of anything....but, anyway, for now, I'm practicing when I can...my parakeets love it!

 

I'd be quite happy to meet you and the other people that I've 'talked' to here in the forum.

 

People are still welcome to stop by here at my home, when/if it's ever convenient. With a bit of advanced warning, of course!

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Come on Jim, you ought to be good for this.

I've never been very good at stringed instruments, so I don't see much point in entering a debate about them. Language, on the other hand...

 

Mountain dulcimer-like instruments are known throughout the world, but not by the name "dulcimer" even in most of Europe (Finnish "kantele", Norwegian "langelejk",...). Hammered dulcimer-like instruments are similarly widespread and multiply-named (Hungarian "cymbalom", Persian "santur",....) So any debate over rigid application of what are ultimately arbitrary names seems rather silly to me. "Dulcimer" means both, and I've heard (though I don't know for sure) that the Biblical instrument referred to by that name might well have been neither. So if there's any doubt, just use the "full" name of the instrument you're talking about, and don't waste time on debate.

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No no Jim. You got off on the wrong tangent. I don't want your help on debating names of stringed instruments. We'll just call all of them George.

 

David said he "always" does what I ask. I wanted some suggestions of things to ask him to do. I thought you'd excell at nifty jaunts to send him off on.

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Hey Wendy,

 

Is Taco Bell a distant cousin of Bellowbelle?

 

Money is tight so I won't be going to a lot either. But I would like to go to either the Canadian workshop which would be bodhran, concertina and piano accordion. (For me, other stuff is also available.) Or the N H guy's workshop. I'd like to go to both, but probably unrealistic.

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Hey Wendy,

 

Is Taco Bell a distant cousin of Bellowbelle?

How about Pachelbel?

 

BTW, if anyone was wondering, I believe the biblical reference to the dulcimer is in the catalogue of Nebuchadnezzar's orchestra. I have no clue as to what instrument actually was being referred to or even what ancient (hebrew? aramaic?) word was translated to "dulcimer."

Edited by David Barnert
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Hey Wendy,

 

Is Taco Bell a distant cousin of Bellowbelle?

 

Money is tight so I won't be going to a lot either. But I would like to go to either the Canadian workshop which would be bodhran, concertina and piano accordion. (For me, other stuff is also available.) Or the N H guy's workshop. I'd like to go to both, but probably unrealistic.

I was thinking that....Taco Bell, etc...lol...a strange thought. More likely, I'm just a dingaling...

 

Anyway....what's the 'N H guy's workshop?' New Hampshire? You mean the Portsmouth one?

 

I know they did that in 2002 but I don't know if it's a regular feature of the Maritime Festival....if that's even what you mean.

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