Timothy's Blog

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

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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Product review: the Dusty Strings Dulci-Tune

Product review: the Dusty Strings Dulci-Tune

Over the past twenty-seven years I’ve used a number of electronic tuners to get my hammered dulcimer and other instruments in tune before a gig or a recording session, and I’ve hoped for quickness and exactness.  Now, the most recently purchased tuner really stands out.  I’ll tell you why after a brief history:

First, starting in 1988, I had a Sabine.  There were just three little lights showing ‘flat, in tune, sharp’ and the note was sensed by a microphone or a jack for an extension cable with an alligator clamp at the other end.  It did a decent job. 

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'Big Meadows Twilight' composed and played on the hammered dulcimer

'Big Meadows Twilight' composed and played on the hammered dulcimer

In February of 2000 I purchased my present dulcimer, a Dusty Strings D600 (the eighth one out of the shop, the one Ray Mooers sent to Sam Rizzetta to confirm the design) --- and I decided to try developing a new technique using separated hands, stylized sort of like a pianist does it, together with the rich low range of this particular dulcimer model.

So I chose the key of A, and I chose to use all of the major and minor chords from the key so I could explore the use of each of their locations on the bass bridge.

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'Silent Night' for hammered dulcimer using 'thirds' harmonies

One of the great Christmas carols --- perhaps the most beloved of all --- is ‘Silent Night’, which was written by Franz Gruber in 1818 using a guitar when the church organ wasn’t working.

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My composition 'Preservation' on solo hammered dulcimer, separated-hands style


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