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Curious as to similar instrument trends

cat

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I've been gradually and steadily interested in accordians the past 15 years - and took up playing the hammered dulcimer about oh 25-30 years ago I guess. Oddly, I guess - given my background, but pleasingly, I've come to use accordians (and tenor banjos, fiddle)as my primary instrument for entertaining. Whenever I can -be motivated - I play the HD. I like the Scottish/Irish forms on HD - I play a mix of jigs, reels, pibroch, airs..and polka of course!

Come to find - these two (accordion and HD) are prolific instruments in my area of origin - Great Lakes (MI, USA). Ironically - having never been remotely intersted in these as a youth - I'm increasingly interested in the playing tradition as they derive in my geographic heritage, etc. Maybe this is another way of saying, that - now that I'm mid-50s - I can embrace Dutch Hop music? (at least, theoretically :D )

Curious - I'd like to know where else in the world these two instrument/dance traditions exist. I presume maybe Poland and eastern Europe? Etc.

Many thanks -
 
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lightninboy

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I didn't know there were any hammered dulcimers outside of Appalachia.
 

cat

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lightninboy said:
I didnt know there were any hammered dulcimers outside of Appalachia.

Interesting - I would think these would turn up in the Dakotas; my understanding is that Dutch Hop was popular from the Midwest to Northern CO.

Just a brief account of the HD in the US: There were many builders in New York state (ca. mid-1800s) - and many instruments and builders came west from NY via logging industries and migration throughout the Great Lakes - especially Michigan. Ive heard them called lumberjack piano - probably deriving from their use in the timber/logging camps, etc. In Michigan, there is a fiddling tradition (of course) and it is often accompanied by HD.

I understand the HD (cimbalom) is a trad folk instrument in Slovakia. And of course there are countless varieties throughout Asia and the Far East (Santoor, yangchin, etc.). I think Ill find much in the folk music of eastern Europe - being as the instrument is/was part of the traditional forms. Im curious if there is more - or perhaps other forms (new OR old) combining these.

I havent posed this question on the dulcimer site yet - I dont hang out there.
 

TomBR

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Are you asking where HD and accordion are often played together? HDs are fairly rare here in England and possibly rarer in Ireland and Scotland, that said, if an HD is playing in a trad session there's probably some sort of free-reed there too!

Quite a strong HD "hackbrett" tradition in Germany/Austria I think, and there will always be accordions.

Hungary/Romania, yes "cimbalom" the 120 bass/grand piano of the HD world with accordions in gypsy bands.

I guess it's probably the ubiquity of the accordion that means whenever you have an HD playing folk music, chances are there'll be accordions!
 

cat

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Yes I haven't heard much of the hackbrett forms - as it's just not a style I'm attracted to. I'll look into it more.

(BTW, I hesitate to mention but just in case anyone else is interested - I'm also into Gaelic harp , which goes way back [they speculate maybe Nordic tribes, etc]...and so I wonder whether the HD also may go back to "Caledonia", older presence in the Islands, etc..)

Thanks bosca - I came across the EATMT site last week - a very nice accounting given by Mr Kettlewell.
 
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lightninboy

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cat said:
Interesting - I would think these would turn up in the Dakotas; my understanding is that Dutch Hop was popular from the Midwest to Northern CO.
I see online there is a hammered dulcimer player locally at Big Stone City.
 
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lightninboy

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They do have some dulcimers at the National Old Time Music Festival in Le Mars, Iowa.
 

cat

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One other question, if I may without being too outside of the business on this forum -

Im interested in Scandinavian musical traditions - on accordion but also the zither/harp forms. Can folks recommend a site that perhaps deals with Scandi folk-musical forms, etc. (the kantele segment here in the middle, for ex, is something I find powerful and alluring )
 

AccordionUprising

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How do you get a hammered dulcimer loud enough to compete with an accordion? I fear thats why there arent many examples. Im excited that there are some Ill have to look into.

Theres a few early klezmer tunes with the tsimbl or cimbolom hammered dulcimer (by Joseph Moskowitz in 1916 and maybe others). It overlapped with the earliest accordion but was on the way out I think. The recordings have just piano accompaniment.

Inspired by those old klezmer players, Joshua Horowitz uses it in his group Veretski. Im not sure if he plays both it and his accordion at the same time. http://www.veretskipass.com/Veretski_Pass/Instruments.html

In Mexico I think their salterio would have been inaudible after the coming of the accordion in the late 1800s. I think those are plucked, not hammered.

It occurs to me that my radio co-hosts band The Creaking Planks has a member who plays South Asian santoor. The band has a very fluid membership and its a devil to mic up the santoor to be heard over the 3-13 other instruments. They havent got much in the way of recordings I could point you to, more of a live spectacle.

Id be interested to hear how the two instruments work together. Ill have to do more research.
 

dunlustin

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quote:
How do you get a hammered dulcimer loud enough...?
Maybe a very restrained box player would do the trick.
(By the way, this makes me feel very old.)
 
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JonathanC

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AccordionUprising said:
How do you get a hammered dulcimer loud enough to compete with an accordion?
I regually play at sessions with a chap on the hammered dulcimer in wiltshire, and he can certainly compete for sound levels with my melodeon or CBA.
 

cat

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Some h. dulcimers are louder than others - I have one that is exceptionally loud with 4-strings per course: I think the hackbretts and cimbis are typical in this regard, for example, where they are traditionally deployed in (oftentimes loud!) ensembles, whereas the h dulcimer in the USA and perhaps the Isles seems to have evolved into a more tune-style folk instrument for home use, contradances, smaller ensembles, etc. and thus instruments are typically smaller and without the volume. Each region has its variety - in India and "mid-East" Asia varieties (santoor, santour, santir, etc) is a classical instrument; in China and the far East (the yangchin and others) are also a "classical" instrument and I think are often played in multiples in the Orchestras...etc.

They are difficult to amplify adequately - usually requiring multiple mics and/or piezos. I have a similarly related challenge in amplifying my harps. In fact, one reason why I use h. dulcimers is that they are generally louder than my harps. (For this matter, it's why I became an accordion and banjo entertainer! - it's a very efficient way to go in terms of volume and projection).

A little more info on my personal needs: I'm only going solo these days, so my primary purpose of enquiry is to provide more information on the instruments and styles, background and tradition, etc. As I've found myself playing these instruments publicly, I find it a little ironic that I hail from a region where these instruments are/were popular, and feel somewhat obliged to elaborate on the tradition for audiences. As I'd mentioned, I wasn't brought up in these traditions whatsoever - I was a kid in "Rock City" and grew up playing Stones and Zepplin :lol: - and feel compelled to reconnect with my forebearer's roots, as it were..

Thanks for the link AccUprsng - I'll pursue listening
 

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