The Mountain Dulcimer’s Identity in 20th Century Folk Revivals


Posted on June 11th, by Jack in Essays and Papers. No Comments

Submitted as my final project in American Studies 420: American Folk Revivals at Hamilton College, taught by Prof. Lydia Hamessely.
Click here for full essay.

On May 20, 2009, almost 30,000 Americans tuned into the season finale of American Idol to see underdog Kris Allen upset (the now far more famous) Adam Lambert to win the competition, inadvertently also witnessing a landmark moment in the 150+ year history of an unknown American musical instrument: the Appalachian or mountain dulcimer.1 Even though it only flashed on the screen a few times, viewers immediately noticed the unusual instrument that‘80s pop sensation Cyndi Lauper held on her lap while singing a duet of “Time After Time” with a previously-eliminated contestant. Some took to the internet, asking strangers on sites like Yahoo Answers to try to identify the strange instrument. Others celebrated the appearance of their beloved instrument on national television and received frantic calls from friends about it, like one member of the online community Everything Dulcimer who said she received an onslaught of messages from family members saying “her instrument” was on American Idol.2 Today’s tight-knit community of contemporary dulcimer players may not be accustomed to such widespread attention, but the under-appreciated instrument has had periods of surprising popularity and an interesting history that raises some of the key ideas in thinking about American folk music.

Since its emergence in the mid-nineteenth century, the mountain dulcimer has developed in a different way than most instruments. Even in its moments of relative popularity, the dulcimer never really broke into mainstream cultural consciousness, consequently allowing it to retain a strong connection to its roots and operate as an alternative to instruments with more popular connotations, like the guitar or fiddle. These features and more have combined to give the mountain dulcimer a unique identity as an American folk instrument, prompting certain performers to adopt it as a means of associating themselves with the connotations of its history and specific identity. These performers include Jean Ritchie, who sparked a revival of the instrument in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s; Joni Mitchell, who introduced it to the post-Woodstock generation of folk fans and musicians and the aforementioned Cyndi Lauper, who has helped continue the legacy of the mountain dulcimer by using it to shape her late-career sound and aesthetic.

Its roots translating poetically to “sweet music,”3 the word “dulcimer” has medieval roots. The first recorded use of the word traces back to 1475, appearing again a short time later in the King James Bible (1611) and in Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667).4 The first mention of a dulcimer on American soil comes in an entry dated May 23, 1717 of early settler Samuel Sewall’s diary.5 However, these mentions cannot be connected to what we today call the mountain dulcimer, because Charles Seeger points out that “the Appalachian dulcimer is not, in the accepted sense of the word, a dulcimer at all, but a fretted zither, belonging to a well-defined subclass upon which the melody is played on one string…while others sound as drones.”6 In fact, these previous mentions of dulcimers likely refer to instruments like the modern hammered dulcimer, which differ significantly in shape, sound and playing style from the mountain dulcimer.

Despite their similar names, the hammered and mountain dulcimers have distinctly different origins and identities. While the hammered dulcimer arrived in America unchanged from its original European form, the story of the mountain dulcimer’s origin isn’t so simple or clear. Some scholars insist that mountain dulcimer’s resemblance to earlier zithers from the British Isles, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Hungary or Romania explain its ancestry, but there is little direct evidence for any of these area’s instruments being the precursor to the American iteration.7 In fact, the mountain dulcimers of Appalachia most likely descend from the German scheitholt, which migrated to America with the Mennonites, or Pennsylvania Dutch (a misnomer, considering their German roots).8 Versions of the scheitholt with minimal variations from the German were brought to America and can be seen in many Pennsylvania museums, often being called Pennsylvania German zitters, or zithers.9 However, these forerunners still differ greatly in size and construction from the mountain dulcimer. While both were played on the lap, have a diatonic fret layout and similar fingerboards, the American mountain dulcimer has a fingerboard attached to the top of a larger resonating sound box that flares out on both sides, either in an oval shape or a curved violin-esque profile with two bouts. The straight-sided Pennsylvania German zitters don’t have this type of sound box—instead they have a smaller resonating chamber directly below (and with the same footprint as) the fingerboard. The zitter’s sound holes are also cut directly in the top of the fingerboard, while the mountain dulcimer’s are on the protruding sides of the sound box. In his study of pre-revival dulcimers, L. Allen Smith discovered instruments that potentially explain the transformation from the zitter to the mountain dulcimer. Smith found an example of an early mountain dulcimer with a hollow section under its fingerboard and sound holes both in the board and sound box, leading him to conclude that zitter players in Pennsylvania and the Appalachians began building dulcimers by attaching zitters to hollow resonating boxes, hoping to amplify the sound.10 Based on his analysis of these early instruments, Smith suggests that the contemporary double-bouted shape and solid fingerboard developed around 1850, when players had adapted to its playing style.11 While it evolved from a European ancestor, the fact that our modern idea of the mountain dulcimer was developed in the United States forms an important part of its identity. Especially in the nation’s first century of existence, American culture was often directly imported from or heavily related to its European counterparts. The dulcimer being an American creation, unlike the violin or guitar or, ties it fundamentally to the tradition of American folk music. The mountain dulcimer is not just a folk instrument—it’s an American folk instrument, and future adopters of the instrument would relish that distinguishing feature of its identity.

The location of the mountain dulcimer’s evolution from the Pennsylvania German zitter isn’t only important on a national level, but also on a regional one; the instrument is as Appalachian as it is American. After studying it extensively, Charles Seeger locates the mountain dulcimer “in the mountains and foothills of southeastern United States, Stretching from southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, taking in West Virginia, the western counties of Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas and the eastern of Kentucky and Tennessee.”12 In other words, the mountain dulcimer is native to the Appalachians and the surrounding areas. Considering the significance that this area has had on American folk music since the Cecil Sharp days, this is another extremely significant aspect of the mountain dulcimer’s identity. The instruments’ Appalachian origin makes it impossible to separate the dulcimer from the mountains—its sound and spirit are irrevocably tied to the area in the same way as so many songs and ballads. Consequently, the instrument also evolved in the same way that the music did, by oral tradition and being passed down as a cross-generational family heirloom. Seeger explains the importance of this ideal, saying “”The Appalachian dulcimer may be classed as a folk instrument in the strict sense of the term, its making and its use have taken place within the currency of an oral tradition of music.”13 He also explains that in his research he never saw the mountain dulcimer used “as a parlor or concert instrument”14 like the hammered dulcimer often was, further distinguishing between the two and emphasizing the mountain dulcimer’s status as a folk instrument rather than a tool of art music.

The significance of this location within the Dulcimer’s identity is apparent in its reflection of the location’s character, especially for its non-commercial and homemade characteristics—both of which add extra layers of appeal for performers looking to align themselves with the identity formations of American folk music. Succinctly summing up the mountain dulcimer’s anti-industrial existence, Charles Seeger explains that, in all of his research, he has “never known of a factory-made instrument.”15 Randall Armstrong echoes this sentiment, asserting that the mountain dulcimer was “forgotten in the deluge” when the age of “mass-produced, mail-order guitars, fiddles, banjos and mandolins” first brought these tools of Appalachian music to the masses.16 While these other instruments became commercialized products, handmade mountain dulcimers remained treasured items for mountain musicians, retaining their special sentimental and personal value in an environment undiluted by cheap imitators lacking any individual character, personality or beauty. Dulcimer-building remained an art form long after the production of other instruments had been industrialized, with old-time craftsmen like Homer Ledford, Jacob Ray Melton and Clifford Glenn, some of whom started building in the ‘40s, continuing to build dulcimers as recently as the late 1990’s.17 Even when Jean Ritchie’s appearances in New York City launched the mountain dulcimer revival in the ‘50s, the city-billies of the Northeast could only acquire an instrument by writing to a builder back in the mountains like Jean’s distant cousin Jethro Ambergy from Knott County, Kentucky, who built dulcimers from 1920 to (reportedly) the day of his death in 1971.18 Ambergy built his dulcimers to the exact specifications of James “Uncle Ed” Thomas’ dulcimers, making them essentially identical to instruments that date back to 1871!19 Uncle Ed also built the mountain dulcimer that Balis Ritchie owned and his daughter Jean first learned to play, meaning that Jean Ritchie fans could have ordered a faithful sister instrument to the one that sparked the whole revival.20 Today most mountain dulcimers are still homemade products, built by individuals or small workshops around the country. This culture of old-fashioned craftsmanship and tradition remains a key aspect of the mountain dulcimer’s identity as a folk instrument, as its popularity has spread and grown without the influence of modern corporate marketing and advertising. This concept fits perfectly within the value system of folk music, which has had a fundamentally anti-corporate inclination since the days of Woody Guthrie. Furthermore, the dulcimer’s homemade, anti-commercial characteristics appeal to those looking to assume the identity that folk music projects by appealing to our contemporary perception of pre-modern authenticity and small-scale, trade-oriented local commerce.

The appeal of the dulcimer isn’t merely based on its location or anti-commerciality though; some aspects of its attraction are far less complicated than that. For one, the mountain dulcimer is one of the easiest string instruments to learn, giving it an approachability that other instruments can’t match. Its diatonic fret layout may force the player to retune to play different modes, but by offering only the notes of the major scale it virtually eliminates the possibility for dissonant or “wrong” notes. Most songs are played on only the melody string, and even those with chords are often played by simply holding the same finger position and sliding one’s hand up and down the fretboard. Its drone strings also give the mountain dulcimer an unusual but resonant timbre, vaguely resembling a bagpipe with its constant drone notes. Many find this sound inexplicably pleasant and appealing. These pleasant and undemanding qualities give the dulcimer an innate appeal to any musician looking for a new sound, especially if they’re aware of its strong connections to American folk tradition.

Considering the fundamentally American, Appalachian, non-commercial, homemade, folk-oriented, approachable and unusual aspects of its identity, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that there are no other instruments quite like the mountain dulcimer anywhere in American music. While this identity isn’t widely known, it is well respected amongst the initiated. This explains the pattern of popularity that the mountain dulcimer has experienced since its first major revival, with periods of widespread enthusiasm for the occurring after a major performer brings it into the spotlight, exposing their fans and other musicians to its unusual, charming allure. This occurred in the late ‘40s and ‘50s when Jean Ritchie sparked the first contemporary mountain dulcimer revival and again in the early 1970s when Joni Mitchell re-popularized it on her seminal album “Blue,” introducing a new generation of young, counter-cultural folk music enthusiasts to the dulcimer’s sound and folk identity.

The mountain dulcimer first left the mountains and entered the metropolitan music scene in the arms of Jean Ritchie, who would quickly become an important figure in the New York folk music community and one of the most prominent women in the history of American folk music. Growing up in Viper, Kentucky, Ritchie was the youngest of fourteen children and started playing music at an early age, learning “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” on her father’s dulcimer (built by “Uncle Ed” Thomas) at the age of five.21 She graduated college in 1946 with a degree in social work and moved to New York City, finding a job at the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Founded in 1893 by progressive leader Lillian Wald, the Settlement is still operational today, offering social services, art programs and heath care to local residents.22 Ritchie often brought her dulcimer with her to the Settlement, teaching her family’s mountain songs and ballads to the children there.23 Ritchie was also active in the Washington Square folk music community, quickly attracting the attention of the scene’s most influential figures.24 In 1949 Ritchie was recorded on six different occasions by Alan Lomax, singing unaccompanied versions of her Appalachian ballads, folk songs, spirituals and even some Christmas carols.25 She also performed for audiences around New York, with luminaries like Ledbelly and Carl Sandburg attending her concerts. She also became a regular weekly guest on Oscar Brand’s weekly radio show called “Folksong Festival” on New York’s public radio station, WNYC.26 She soon became the first folk artist signed to Elektra records, releasing her first album Jean Ritchie Sings in 1954. In 1977 Jean’s album None But One won Rolling Stone Magazine’s Critic’s Award, demonstrating the popularity of both Ritchie’s music and folk music in general.
On her rise to folk music celebrity, Ritchie introduced the New York City folk community to a previously unseen Appalachian artifact—the mountain dulcimer. Her New York performances created such a demand for the instruments (which were still only available from individual mountain craftsmen) that Ritchie, her husband George Pickow and his infirmed uncle began building mountain dulcimers in their Brooklyn home, eventually producing 357 instruments which they sold for $75 each.27 Ritchie also published the first formal instructional book for the dulcimer in 1963, affecting the playing styles of many future dulcimer players.28 Ritchie’s popularization of the mountain dulcimer solidified its place in the New York folk revival and 20th century folk music in general. The founder of the Museum of Appalachia John Rice Irwin neatly sums up Ritchie’s role in advancing the dulcimer, admitting “if not for Jean Ritchie, nobody would have known about the dulcimer.”29

Obviously, Ritchie didn’t choose the dulcimer for the unique properties of its identity, nor did she play the dulcimer in attempts to associate herself with its folk connotations. As a native of the Appalachians performing her family’s songs, Ritchie served as a model for the city-billies to emulate. Like Woody Guthrie, Ritchie sits amongst the select few folk music icons that never needed to pursue authenticity. These types of performers laid the groundwork for the 20th century folk revivals, teaching the community their songs, promoting certain attitudes and even exposing the world to their families’ unusual instruments. Because of her work in introducing the instrument to mainstream music communities, the mountain dulcimer would be forever tied to the way Ritchie shaped the modern understanding of folk music during her time in Greenwich Village scene. Whether they would realize it or not, everyone (other than native mountain players) who has picked up a dulcimer in the past 60 years owes a debt to Jean Ritchie for establishing it as part of the tradition.

Ritchie also introduced the mountain dulcimer to other established musicians, some of whom would go on to adopt into instrument in their own music. One such musician was Richard Fariña, who Ritchie met at a New York party in 1960. Entranced by the instrument, Fariña developed a non-traditional style of dulcimer playing that attracted widespread attention, touring and recording with Mimi Baez (Joan’s younger sister) until his untimely death in 1966 cut his career short.30 Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones was also introduced to the dulcimer in the 60’s, commissioning the Vox guitar company to build him an electric version of the instrument, which they called the Bijou.31 Jones played the dulcimer on the Elizabethan-tinged Stones song “Lady Jane” from their 1966 album Aftermath.32 These musicians’ uses of the dulcimer show how some non-native performers employed its sound, rather than its identity, as an opportunity for musical progression.

By 1970, the folk music movement took on a different character than it did in the ‘50s and early ‘60s. Protest songs about unions and labor struggles suddenly seemed quaint in the era of the Vietnam War, the shock of Dylan’s electric betrayal had worn off and Woodstock ushered in an unprecedented new era of counterculture rooted as much in the psychedelic Bay Area as it was in Greenwich Village. That isn’t to say that folk music had ended—the Woodstock bill featured acts like Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie’s son Arlo and Village regular Richie Havens. It was changing though; with a west-coast Folk-Rock tradition emerging that incorporated the acoustic aesthetic of folk music but little of its traditional songs, characteristics or identity. However, in spite of all this change, one of the era’s strongest voices once again came from a young woman with a mountain dulcimer.

After three straight successful albums and a breakup from her rock-star boyfriend, Joni Mitchell halted touring in 1970 and set off for Europe with a handmade mountain dulcimer in her arms. She returned a little while later, releasing an album that would re-introduce the dulcimer’s charismatic buzzing drone to the world of popular music. Released in 1971, Blue would become the most celebrated album of Mitchell’s career, with Rolling Stone Magazine ranking it #30 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time—the highest ranked album by any female artist.33 Normally a guitar player, Mitchell featured the mountain dulcimer on four tracks—“All I Want,” “Carey,” “California” and “A Case of You”—one of her best-loved songs. These recordings show Mitchell’s unique slap-style playing technique, which achieves an interesting percussive effect. Mitchell explained the origin of this style in an interview, saying “the only instrument I had ever had across my knee was a bongo drum, so when I started to play the dulcimer I beat it.”34 Another explanation of Joni’s playing style comes from Joellen Lapidus, the Big Sur, CA instrument builder who sold Mitchell her first mountain dulcimer. Lapidus herself learned to play the instrument from Jean Ritchie’s instructional book and claims to have taught Mitchell the basic skills of dulcimer playing, including Ritchie’s style of tuning the instrument.35 Although it was indirect, the idea that Joni Mitchell developed her style of play based on instruction from Jean Ritchie shows how cohesive and familiar the mountain dulcimer community was, and it continues to be so today.

The rise of contemporary folk in the 1970s functioned as a type of meta-revival, as it looked to the heroes of the previous ‘50s and ‘60s folk revival—like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan—as its models. This meant that the new folk generations were separated from the roots of American folk music by at least two degrees, as Dylan and Baez themselves had only a second-hand connection to the tradition’s origins. This divide put an even higher premium on authenticity, increasing the appeal of the mountain dulcimer. Whether she did so intentionally or not, Joni Mitchell cast herself as her generation’s version of Jean Ritchie by adopting the mountain dulcimer, appealing to her audience’s desire for the dulcimer’s unique American folk sound and identity. Mitchell also followed in Ritchie’s footprints by sparking her own West Coast dulcimer revival in the ‘70s, which enthusiasts Patricia Delich and Wayne Jiang examine in their recent feature-length documentary Hearts of the Dulcimer.36This renaissance lasted from about 1975 to 1980, with the dulcimer’s unique and folk-rooted identity appealing to the lingering feelings of counterculturalism, anti-consumerism and pre-industrial nostalgia that defined youth culture at the time.37 Unfortunately, as the fickle trends of youth culture inevitably changed in the 1980’s, the mountain dulcimer once again fell out of fashion—although it would soon find its way into the lap of a ‘80s music icon.

Growing up in New York City, Cyndi Lauper was inspired to teach herself the mountain dulcimer by her father Fred, who played xylophone and slide guitar.38 After a string of major hits in the ‘80s, including the classic pop songs “Time After Time,” “True Colors,” “All Through The Night” and “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” Lauper grew more serious about her dulcimer playing in the mid 1990s, seeking out esteemed player David Schnaufer in Nashville for lessons.39 Lauper sang lead vocals on a track called “Twilight Eyes” from Schnaufer’s 2000 album Dulcimore and went on to adopt the dulcimer as her main instrument both on recordings and in live performance. In 2005, Lauper recorded The Body Acoustic, an album of her early-career hits re-recorded in an acoustic, contemporary folk style. Unsurprisingly, Lauper played dulcimer on every song on the record. In an interview following the album’s release, Lauper explained “I did want to capture the back-porch feel. It’s not necessarily country, but it has a spirit of Americana. I wanted to capture that.”40 Lauper has also played the dulcimer on several television and radio appearances, including American Idol, the Howard Stern Show (where she played a solo version of “All Through the Night”) and The Talk, where she explained the instrument to host Sharon Osbourne, who thought it was a slide guitar.41

 

Cyndi Lauper’s post-‘80s adoption of the dulcimer offers a clear example of a performer embracing the instrument as a way to associate them with its historical identity. She turned to the instrument shortly after growing out of her rebellious, dyed-hair youth image with the intention of using the instrument to redefine herself as a contemporary singer-songwriter with roots in American folk music—an identity that has been successful for other middle-aged performers. Lauper was 42-years-old in 1995 when she started studying dulcimer with David Schnaufer, well past the days of her rebellious “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” youth. By picking up the relatively unknown, easy-to-play and deeply folk-associated dulcimer, Lauper was able to quickly transform her sound and image to feel more mature, historic and authentic to folk music traditions. This interest in the culture surrounding folk music’s origin continues for Lauper, as she is currently working on plans to follow up her Broadway debut “Kinky Boots” with a musical about “the music of Appalachia, the lives of the “back porch” women, coal miners and suffragettes,”42 further associating herself with the culture that spawned the mountain dulcimer as a way to define herself as a late-career pop star.

As these examples show, the mountain dulcimer has had a significant place in the history of modern folk music revivals, evolving to function as a symbol of its history as a native Appalachian folk instrument. Ever since Jean Ritchie first introduced the instrument to the New York folk music scene in the late 1940s, the dulcimer has been a recurring feature of folk revivals, appealing to enthusiasts for its quick learning curve and rich connection to the history of American folk music. Well aware of this unique ability to the dulcimer, musicians like Joni Mitchell and Cyndi Lauper have found ways to include themselves in the instrument’s modern history, meanwhile introducing new generations of alternative-minded musicians to its enchanting sound and character.

 

 

Works Cited

Rolling Stone Magazine. “#30: Joni Mitchell, ‘Blue’.” 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/500-greatest-albums-of-all-time-20120531/joni-mitchell-blue-20120524 (accessed May 17, 2013).

“About Us.” Henry Street Settlement. http://www.henrystreet.org/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

Altman, Ross. “Jean Ritchie: Damsel with a Dulcimer | San Diego Troubadour.” San Diego Troubadour. http://sandiegotroubadour.com/2011/06/jean-ritchie-damsel-with-a-dulcimer/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

Armstrong, Randall. “The Adaptable Appalachian Dulcimer.” Music Educators Journal 66, no. 6 (1980): 38.

Brend, Mark. Strange Sounds: Offbeat Instruments and Sonic Experiments in Pop. San Francisco, Calif.: Backbeat, 2005.

“Cyndi Lauper on The Talk.” YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca1MdOO6LZ8 (accessed May 18, 2013).

Delich, Patricia, and Wayne Jiang. “Hearts of the Dulcimer.” Offician Film Website. http://www.dulcimuse.com/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

Delich, Patricia, and Wayne Jiang. “Hearts of the Dulcimer Official Trailer (2013) .” YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZgTRIJwlco (accessed May 17, 2013).

“dulcimer, n.”. OED Online. March 2013. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/58325?redirectedFrom=dulcimer (accessed May 17, 2013)

Irwin, John Rice. “History of the Dulcimer and Jean Ritchie .” YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daCzwDr8sVA (accessed May 17, 2013).

Association for Cultural Equity. “Jean Ritchie 1949 and 1950.” Cultural Equity. http://research.culturalequity.org/get-audio-ix.do?ix=session&id=JR49&idType=abbrev&sortBy=abc (accessed May 17, 2013).

“Just saw Cyndi Lauper play MD on American Idol!.” EverythingDulcimer.com. http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/discuss/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=20129 (accessed May 17, 2013).

MacNeil, Madeline, and Ralph Lee Smith. Greenwich Village: the Happy Folk Singing Days of the 50s and 60s. New York: Mel Bay, 2008.

Pacheco, Patrick. “Cyndi Lauper struts onto Broadway with ‘Kinky Boots’ – latimes.com.” Los Angeles Times – California, national and world news – latimes.com. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-cyndi-lauper-20130407,0,2106401,full.story (accessed May 17, 2013).

Pulsford, Jan. “David Schnaufer.” Dulcimer Memories. http://davidschnaufer.blogspot.com/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

Rasof, Henry. “An Interview with Jean Ritchie.” Dulcimer Players News, July 1983.

Ritchie, Jean. Jean Ritchie’s Dulcimer People. New York: Oak Publications, 1975.

Ross, Butch. “A Case of Blue: Joni Mitchell and the Mountain Dulcimer.” Dulcimer Players News, March 29, 2011.

Seeger, Charles. “The Appalachian Dulcimer.” The Journal of American Folklore 71, no. Jan.-Mar. (1958): 40-51. http://www.jstor.org/stable/537958 (accessed May 17, 2013).

Seidman, Robert. “American Idol, Two and a Half Men and Dancing lead final week of season – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers.” Zap2IT.com. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2009/05/27/american-idol-two-and-a-half-men-and-dancing-lead-final-week-of-season/19462/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

Shapiro, Gregg. “A dulcimer changes everything.” Between The Lines, by CNNWire. http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=16725 (accessed May 18, 2013).

Smith, L. Allen. “Journal of American Folklore.” Toward a Reconstruction of the Development of the Appalachian Dulcimer: What the Instruments Suggest 93, no. Oct.-Dec. (1980): 385-396.

Smith, Ralph Lee. Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1997.

Library of Congress. “The Dulcimer Book.” Library of Congress Catalog Record. http://lccn.loc.gov/63020754 (accessed May 17, 2013).

1Seidman, Robert. “American Idol, Two and a Half Men and Dancing lead final week of season – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers.” Zap2IT.com. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2009/05/27/american-idol-two-and-a-half-men-and-dancing-lead-final-week-of-season/19462/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

2 “Just saw Cyndi Lauper play MD on American Idol!.” EverythingDulcimer.com. http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/discuss/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=20129 (accessed May 17, 2013).

3 Armstrong, Randall. “The Adaptable Appalachian Dulcimer.” Music Educators Journal 66, no. 6 (1980): 38.

4 “dulcimer, n.”. OED Online. March 2013. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/58325?redirectedFrom=dulcimer (accessed May 17, 2013).

5 Seeger, Charles. “The Appalachian Dulcimer.” The Journal of American Folklore 71, no. Jan.-Mar. (1958): 40-51. http://www.jstor.org/stable/537958 (accessed May 17, 2013). Page 40.

6Seeger, Charles. “The Appalachian Dulcimer.” Page 43.

7Smith, Ralph Lee. Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1997. Page 18.

8Seeger, Charles. “The Appalachian Dulcimer.” Page 44.

9Ibid., p. 44

10 Smith, L. Allen. “Journal of American Folklore.” Toward a Reconstruction of the Development of the Appalachian Dulcimer: What the Instruments Suggest 93, no. Oct.-Dec. (1980): 385-396. Page 394.

11 Ibid., p. 395

12 Seeger, Charles. “The Appalachian Dulcimer.” Page 43.

13 Ibid., p. 40.

14 Ibid., p. 40.

15 Seeger, Charles. “The Appalachian Dulcimer.” Page 40.

16 Armstrong, Randall. “The Adaptable Appalachian Dulcimer.” Page 39.

17 Smith, Ralph Lee. Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions. Page 173.

18 Ibid., p. 109.

19 Ibid., p. 98.

20 MacNeil, Madeline, and Ralph Lee Smith. Greenwich Village: the Happy Folk Singing Days of the 50s and 60s. New York: Mel Bay, 2008. Page 25.

21 Altman, Ross. “Jean Ritchie: Damsel with a Dulcimer | San Diego Troubadour.” San Diego Troubadour. http://sandiegotroubadour.com/2011/06/jean-ritchie-damsel-with-a-dulcimer/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

22 “About Us.” Henry Street Settlement. http://www.henrystreet.org/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

23 Rasof, Henry. “An Interview with Jean Ritchie.” Dulcimer Players News, July 1983.

24 MacNeil and Smith. Greenwich Village: the Happy Folk Singing Days of the 50s and 60s. Page 25

25 Association for Cultural Equity. “Jean Ritchie 1949 and 1950.” Cultural Equity. http://research.culturalequity.org/get-audio-ix.do?ix=session&id=JR49&idType=abbrev&sortBy=abc (accessed May 17, 2013).

26 Ritchie, Jean. Jean Ritchie’s Dulcimer People. New York: Oak Publications, 1975. Page 25.

27 MacNeil and Smith. Greenwich Village: the Happy Folk Singing Days of the 50s and 60s. Page 25.

28 Library of Congress. “The Dulcimer Book.” Library of Congress Catalog Record. http://lccn.loc.gov/63020754 (accessed May 17, 2013).

29 Irwin, John Rice. “History of the Dulcimer and Jean Ritchie .” YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daCzwDr8sVA (accessed May 17, 2013).

30 Brend, Mark. Strange Sounds: Offbeat Instruments and Sonic Experiments in Pop. San Francisco, Calif.: Backbeat, 2005. Page 134.

31 Ibid, p. 134

32 Ibid, p. 135

33 Rolling Stone Magazine. “#30: Joni Mitchell, ‘Blue’.” 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/500-greatest-albums-of-all-time-20120531/joni-mitchell-blue-20120524 (accessed May 17, 2013).

34 Ross, Butch. “A Case of Blue: Joni Mitchell and the Mountain Dulcimer.” Dulcimer Players News, March 29, 2011. Page 18.

35 Ross, Butch. “A Case of Blue: Joni Mitchell and the Mountain Dulcimer.” Page 19.

36 Delich, Patricia, and Wayne Jiang. “Hearts of the Dulcimer.” Offician Film Website. http://www.dulcimuse.com/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

37 Delich, Patricia, and Wayne Jiang. “Hearts of the Dulcimer Official Trailer (2013) .” YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZgTRIJwlco (accessed May 17, 2013).

38 Pacheco, Patrick. “Cyndi Lauper struts onto Broadway with ‘Kinky Boots'” Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-cyndi-lauper-20130407,0,2106401,full.story (accessed May 17, 2013).

39 Pulsford, Jan. “David Schnaufer.” Dulcimer Memories. http://davidschnaufer.blogspot.com/ (accessed May 17, 2013).

40 Shapiro, Gregg. “A dulcimer changes everything.” Between The Lines, by CNNWire. http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=16725 (accessed May 18, 2013).

41 “Cyndi Lauper on The Talk.” YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca1MdOO6LZ8 (accessed May 18, 2013).

42 Pacheco, Patrick. “Cyndi Lauper struts onto Broadway with ‘Kinky Boots'”





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