The Dulcimer Project Launched

After waiting a bit more than a month for Meister Vander Hart to work his magic on wood, metal, and wire (nothing really good comes instantly, you know), I received the mountain dulcimer I requested him to build for me when I visited his studio in Iowa in late September.

The long awaited package arrives.

Yes, I know I look sort of severe, like Santa after the elves had a food fight at supper.  But, I had just arrived home after a six hour drive, after a Saturday morning seminar, after a six hour drive and a Friday evening seminar the preceding day.  Believe me, I was pleased to be home again and to find this box from Iowa waiting for me.

A snip here, a snip there

Opening long-awaited packages is fun.  My youngest daughter, who retrieved the package from the front porch the day before, is to be commended for leaving it for me to open.

The contents revealed!

It was an encouragement to see the air-bags in the box.  Meister Vander Hart warned me that the instrument, though it was tuned as it departed his studio, would be untuned by the movement of shipping (and, he was right about that).  But, still, his packin was superb, and that was obvious before I even examined the instrument.

So far, so good.

I never thought about a carrying case.  Dulcimers come in many lengths and widths (I’m already wondering about a bass dulcimer!), so I supposed that a carrying case would be difficult to find, or expensive, or unsuitable for an instrument except for sheer seredipity.  Shows you what I know about dulcimers. 

Viola!  Or, rather, Dulcimera!!

Once I learn a bit more about the instrument, I’ll post further blogs about it, its history, and a special feature of this instrument that Meister Vander Hart  incorporates into the dulcimers he makes.  Among his many ministries to the Church, he supervised a group of teenaged boys recently as they built their own dulcimers under his tutelage.  Listening and watching Matthew play his dulcimer in Vander Hart’s studio (Matt also takes cello lessons from him), I thought, “Yup.  Gotta have one of those.” 

Now, to learn how to play it, which everyone says is easy.  On the other hand, in looking through Meister Vander Harts notes, I see he has marked some of the included music “easy,” and “moderate,” and “difficult.”  By the way, if you’re interested in listening to dulcimers — either the mountain dulcimer or the hammered dulcimer — go to You-tube and do a search using the term “dulcimer” and you’ll come up with a lot of short videos.



Filed under Dulcimer project

4 responses to “The Dulcimer Project Launched

  1. Fr. Bill,

    Glad it arived safely.

    > he supervised a group of teenaged boys recently
    > as they built their own dulcimers

    I made one from a kit. A small “backpack” dulcimer. I was displeased with the quality of wood in the kit, but otherwise it turned out okay. We also have a nice one my wife bought in Black Mountain, NC. Believe it or not, we have one with a cardboard body, which actually sounds nice.

    > Now, to learn how to play it, which everyone says is easy.

    Especially if you just play with one finger, instead learning chords.


  2. Congratulations! You look like a jollier Santa in the latter pictures. My husband likes to open his own parcels as well–since it is usually a new Mahler cd. It is the highlight of his day–well, other than seeing me that is:-).
    We just bought a cd of psalms. We had a question about it that I wanted to ask you about, but I will have to get the cd out of the van.
    May you play beautiful music together.

  3. Kathryn

    It looks beautiful, Bill. And I bet you can make it sound beautiful also.


  4. Kamilla

    Ooh, it looks lovely! When is the first concert?


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