By Ralph Lee Smith
This publication describes the restoration of the Appalachian dulcimer's misplaced background, tracing the dulcimer's roots in a German software, the scheitholt; describing the early historical past of the scheitholt and the dulcimer in the US, and outlining the advance of distinct dulcimer types in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. This totally revised and extended variation offers more information concerning the instrument's historical past earlier than the Civil struggle and discusses traditions and kinds which are nonetheless being stumbled on and documented.
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Extra resources for Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions
One of them was the Metropolitan Museum’s no. 988, which the museum had acquired in 1889! Actually, the Met already believed that the instrument was misidentified. When no. 988 had been catalogued, there was virtually no scholarly knowledge of the dulcimer. In the museum world, more was then known about things that had been made in Europe hundreds of years ago than was known about items that were then being made a few hundred miles away. Wrong horse. But what about the barn, Germany? And those “Pennsylvania German zithers”?
I have now lost a week’s sleep trying to think of that guy’s name who made them. He lived in the Beech Creek area right under Beech Mountain, North Carolina, and was therefore a neighbor of all the Presnells, Frank Profitt, Doc Watson, etc. He was a farmer about age 35 who made those things during his spare time during the winter. He made about twenty dulcimers and a like number of squirrel-skin banjos for me, many of which I sold through Izzy. He died in the summer of 1957 of a heart attack, sad to say.
7. The instrument has six strings, of which three pass over an unusually short run of 10 frets. The first note of the Ionian scale is at the third fret, and a single do-to-do scale runs from fret 3 to fret 10. The head and sound holes exhibit highly creative design and fine craftsmanship. In addition, the instrument is accompanied by some rare documentation. Written inside the lid of the instrument’s wooden box are the maker’s name, the month and year it was made, the owner’s name, and a list of songs, one of which is laid out in crude tablature.