When I posted that one of our Thanksgiving guests brought a traditional Appalachian mountain dulcimer and played it for us, several people asked if they could hear it. The day after Christmas, we went to a holiday get-together at their house and I talked her into a little impromptu performance for you.
The dulcimer player here is 52’s sister, by the way. The dulcimer was a gift from the best man at her wedding. He made it from a kit.
Since I know nothing about dulcimers, I got her to tell me a little bit about them for you: “The mountain dulcimer was a popular instrument throughout the mountains because it was easy to make and play. Our uncle Byron Turner collected dulcimers. His study was full of books, odd scientific whatevers, and dulcimers. He was one of the founders of the West Virginia State Folk Festival, distinctive for being all-acoustic folk music. Dulcimers are easy to play–you just hold down the melody string(s) at the frets, which are just like the black piano keys, and strum with a feather or pick. Anyone who can pick out a tune on a piano can play dulcimer in about five minutes. Learning the strumming rhythms is the hardest part. Some people chord and do fancy picking, but the whole point of a dulcimer is just to have something you can easily play a melody on. It’s nice to take on camping trips and play around the campfire–harmonicas work, but they carry and can annoy the next campsite over (or even ones far away).”
She said her dulcimer was out of tune (and I hadn’t given her any advance warning I was going to ask her to do this), but she was a good sport and let me record it anyway so you could hear what it sounds like and see how it’s played.
To win: Leave a comment on this post and let me know you want it. You can just put (BBB) at the end of your comment or otherwise note that you want to be in the draw. One winner will be drawn by random comment number to receive a Ball Blue Book. Eligible entry cut-off is midnight Eastern (U.S.) time tonight. This post will be updated with the winner no later than 9 AM Eastern (U.S.) time tomorrow. Return to this post to see if you won.
Find out more about the Ball Blue Book Project and become a sponsor.
Update 12/30/09: The winning comment number is 87, Jessica. Email me with your full name and address for shipping! (See email button in menu bar above.)
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED.