Celtic Mountain Dulcimer
by Peter Tommerup

Traditionally, the Appalachian mountain dulcimer was primarily used to simply accompany the singing of old British and Appalachian ballads. Over the last 30-40 years, however, the dulcimer has undergone an exciting renaissance in which players have taken it in many new directions. One of these is to play Celtic airs and fiddle tunes. On these, the dulcimer excels, adding a new musical voice to the other instruments one usually hears in this genre. "Celtic" here broadly refers to the music of those lands settled long ago by the Celts: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Shetland Islands, Cornwall (in England), Brittany (in France), and Galicia (in Spain).

Though the mountain dulcimer can make many beautiful sounds, and can be used to play complex as well as simple music, it is generally one of the most easily accessible string instruments for beginners to pick up.

Peter will share how the dulcimer sounds on several tunes played with various techniques, and then teach a couple of tunes to those who bring their dulcimers to the workshop. Listeners and all levels of players are welcome.

About Peter Tommerup:

I fell in love with the mountain and hammered dulcimers when I first heard them played by Guy Carawan in 1973 in a folklore class that Guy taught at the college I was attending. Since then, I have spent thousands of hours jamming, teaching and performing on these instruments. I also fell in love with the discipline of Folklore Studies, and completed a Ph.D. in this at UCLA. Among the topics I studied were: Celtic and American Old Time instrumental music, the dulcimers in their traditional cultural contexts, and organizational culture and folklore. I have taught hundreds of folks in the Bay Area to play dulcimer through classes, workshops, and individual lessons. I currently teach at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, CA, and at my home.

I also have co-founded REDWOOD DULCIMER DAY, and all day mountain dulcimer retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains. This year it takes place on Friday, August 6 (evening concert) and Saturday, August 7 (all day workshops, jams, and evening showcase concert).

For more info, contact me at: ptommerup@juno.com


SFFFF 2004: