Category Archives: Dulcimer project

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.

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Like a Horse Smelling the Barn

Don’t you just hate it when something like this happens?

Yes, the title of this blog and the photo below it are mixing metaphors.  Maybe.  When one is like a horse that smells the barn, one’s apt to do things like you see in the photo.  Fortunately, I avoided mimicking the photo.  Just barely.  But, I did learn how a horse feels when he smells the barn. 

Just about ten hours ago, Barbara and I returned home after traveling 3,382 miles in 17 days.  We’re already thinking about a trip about twice that length next fall.  Our wee lassie will, Lord willing, be out of high school, established in a university somewhere, and (if we can figure out a way to provide for the two dogs and the cat), we’d very much like to connect with folks in the south-east and along the Eastern seaboard whom we know only via the internet and the use of the curricula we research, write, field-test, and distribute. 

After this trip, several projects loom:

The Anglican jurisdiction I belong to will hold its annual synod at the campus of the parish I pastor, St. Athanasius Anglican Church, week after next.  So next week is full of preparations.

Did King David ever play anything like this?I’ve ordered a dulcimer from a craftsman I met on this recent trip – a retired missionary to Russia – who teaches music as well as building and/or repairing a variety of stringed instruments (dulcimer, violin, cello).  My goal, after learning to play the instrument, is to explore how to deploy it to accompany the singing of English psalm texts to Anglican chants.  David’s psalms were written to be chanted, with accompaniment to a stringed instrument – a lute or a lyre – and I’ve never heard this combination before.  All the CDs of Anglican chant I’ve ever uncovered accompany the singers with an organ, which amounts to adding one more artificial voice to the human chorus.  I don’t know how it will sound to accompany chants to plucked strings; but, I intend to find out.  Anyone want to recommend internet resources for this project?

After conferring with the original group of men in our Men at Worship project, I’ve got a few more projects: to compile a collection of collects (no put intended!) for easy reference as the men prepare their prayers before meeting to worship with other men.  Also, I’ve almost finished pointing the New King James version of the Psalms of David for the same men for the same purpose.  And, they have suggested several topics, issues, and Biblical/theological subjects for short men’s studies (6 to 10 weeks in length). 

Meanwhile, I’ve kept tossing things into my blogfodder folder.  This fall I plan to post far more here than I have been able to do this past summer.  Thanks for all you who keep checking back. 

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