Timothy's Blog

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

I am a musician playing primarily hammered dulcimer and flute, and have produced 15 instrumental albums on Virginia, Nature, History, Celtic, Christmas, and other themes; self-styled and original in approach, with a strong respect for sources and meanings.


Hammered dulcimer hovering

There are a lot of stances for playing the hammered dulcimer: Some folks prefer to sit down behind a very vertical instrument (easy to reach all the strings); some like to stand and reach down to a level dulcimer (great efficiency because of gravity’s help); some stand and use the typical moderately slanted setup (a compromise between the two above), reaching from a stationary position to use mostly shoulders and elbows for aiming the hammers.

I am, though, a hoverer. I prefer to stand for that reason, though it’s possible to hover while sitting. (When seated, however, my way of playing requires some strenuous action at the small of my back.) Rather than stand upright and let my hands and arms do all the work, I love to use my whole body, transferring energy from even as far as my calves and thighs to swing force into the hammers, sort of dancing the vector forces at all sorts of angles into the vibration of the strings. For my temperament, at least, this seems to create the greatest possibility of expressive range and emotional coloring.

Continue reading
686 Hits

Classical music V b: Handel and Bach!

I don’t think it can get better than this.

The apex of the Baroque period expressed itself in two German composers who are rightly wildly popular to this day, George Frederick Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Continue reading
435 Hits

Classical music V a: Early Baroque and the Italians

As the Renaissance progressed, there was a trend in music to make it less 'absolute' --- structured less on a basis of carefully defined forms and developments regardless of a text's message, and more on a basis of bringing out that message through the music.  Music was becoming more experiential: the player and listener could directly feel what was meant as it was being sung or played about.

This opened the door for experimentation with more expressive forms; the Italians such as Monteverdi were the most influential in this historic shift, and according to some scholars all 'serious' music since that time has been an outgrowth of the Italians' ideas of that period.

Continue reading
432 Hits

Classical music IV b: The Elizabethan period

The Elizabethan era, named for one of the most notable Tudor monarchs in England, has enough distinctives for us to consider it separately from the Renaissance on the Continent.

The lute and viol (often in ensembles called ‘consorts’) were prominent instruments; and a particular style of madrigal was developed. John Dowland wrote a large number of lute solo masterpieces; one of the most famous is included below.

Continue reading
510 Hits

Classical Music IV a: Renaissance on the Continent and in the church

The Renaissance (French for ‘Rebirth’) in the West brought new developments in polyphonic music --- an extension of the multi-lined melodic experimentation that had been done in the late Middle Ages by such people as Hildegarde, De Machaut, and Dufay.

One notable element in ancient music from prehistoric times on through the Medieval, by the way, was improvisation: It was normal practice for a performer to come up with a newly composed work on the spot, within expected structural parameters such as chosen modes and matching music with texts. This improvisation did continue on into later periods --- for example, Bach was a famous improviser, and players of Romantic concertos made up their own cadenzas --- but as a central practice it waned somewhat in the Renaissance, as composition became more static and complex as written on the page.

Continue reading
660 Hits

Please Note: This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

Browser settings can be adjusted to control cookies. Failure to make adjustments constitutes your agreement to their usage. Learn more

I understand

Information about Cookies

A cookie is a small piece of data (usually a text file) that a website asks your browser to store on your computer or mobile device. It enables the website to remember your actions and preferences (such as login, language, font size and other display preferences) over a period of time, so you don’t have to keep re-entering them whenever you come back to the site or browse from one page to another. Most browsers support cookies, but users can set their browsers to decline them and can delete them whenever they like. Cookies can be used to collect and store user data while connected to provide you with requested services. More information about cookies can be found at http://www.aboutcookies.org.

In addition to cookies that remember your preferences mentioned above, cookies are used for the purpose of purchasing items off this website, and for login and user profile details should you provide them by creating an account or signing up for the blog posts or newsletter.

Third party cookies are also used on this site. Specifically, Google Analytics is used on this site -- a popular web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. Google Analytics uses cookies to help us analyze how users use this site. It counts the number of visitors and tells us things about their behavior overall – such as the typical length of stay on the site or the average number of pages a user views.

The information generated by the cookie about your use of our website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of our website, compiling reports on website activity and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage.

Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google's behalf. Google undertakes not to associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.

If you have Adobe Flash installed on your computer (most computers do) and utilize audio or video players, Google Analytics will try to store some additional data on your computer. This data is known as a Local Shared Object or Flash cookie. This helps us to analyze the popularity of our media files.

Finally, this website makes use of Google Maps. Google Maps is used to provide locations for Timothy Seaman's performances. In clicking on a performance location, you can allow or deny Google Maps knowledge of your location for purposes of getting directions from your location to the event site.

You can control and/or delete cookies as you wish – for details, see aboutcookies.org. You can delete all cookies that are already on your computer and you can set most browsers to prevent them from being placed. If you do this, however, you may have to manually adjust some preferences every time you visit a site and some services and functionalities may not work.

Your failure to control and/or delete cookies for this site constitutes your acceptance of cookies as outlined above.