Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!
JUL
29

Practicing then taking a joy break

Practice makes perfect!  Well, at least, practicing something over and over for a long time will make it possible for you to play it better.  Of course!  And the more familiar you are with a piece from much practicing, the more likely you will have a marvelous command of its structure and expressive details when the time comes to perform or record.

But sometimes you find yourself banging against a wall.  If you’re playing hammered dulcimer (or any instrument) for enjoyment, learning a tune or arrangement can sometimes become a terrific burden, and you may be tempted to forget the whole music thing and just go play a video game or watch a reality TV show or something….

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JUL
09

Musical development!

When I was an infant, quite some time ago, I started listening to Classical music!  It was because my mom would sing it and play it on the piano in the living room, and because she would put on recordings of Classical music and rave about the greatness of the compositions and performances.

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JUN
08

Using body language for expression

Using body language for expression

Musical phrasing and interpretation are affected by the way the instrumentalist moves.  It often marks the difference between cold, dead music-making and compelling, electrifying results.

A lot of dynamic effect can be achieved with a very efficient and slight movement, as when a hammered dulcimer player uses mostly his fingers to flip the hammers in just the right way, with shoulders and elbows moving the hammers to the note locations.

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JUN
06

Maturing wood

Maturing wood

Wooden instruments gain new sonorities as they’re played over the years!

My performance hammered dulcimer was made in 1999 by Dusty Strings, the eighth one released of the new design, the D600; they sent it to co-designer Sam Rizzetta for approval of the new model, and he recorded it on three tracks of the album Dulcimer Boogie with it. (That’s my D600 in the photos!  He played a new D550 on one other track, and his own Rizzetta Extended Range on the rest.)

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JAN
12

Music sounds better in the winter!

Music sounds better in the winter!

You’ve read that right: apparently everything sounds better in the winter, especially in more humid climates (like Virginia, USA, where we live), and here’s why:

When it gets colder, the heating unit in a building turns on or is turned on, like a furnace or a wood stove.  Because of that, the humidity in the indoors drops to a pretty low level, like fifteen to twenty-five percent relative humidity.

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