A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

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A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby Jono » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:14 pm

KenH wrote:

A chromatic dulcimer might as well be another guitar. There's no challenge for you.

A chromatic dulcimer would be just another funny looking thing to hang on your wall. Not really a dulcimer at all.

Just a funny looking lap guitar.



Comments anyone?
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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby Judy K » Thu Mar 03, 2016 12:25 am

Jono, this is a long standing argument that is best ignored. A chromatic mountain dulcimer meets all the criteria needed to be a dulcimer to those who like to play with extra frets. KenH is well known to prefer diatonic dulcimers. Yet he had no problem adding a 6+ fret to a nifty zither/dulcimer I bought from him a few years ago. (My great niece plays it now & loves it. Thanks, Ken.)

The question could also be: 'is an electric dulcimer a dulcimer?'. Some would probably say "No", but not the people who enjoying playing one. Enjoy your dulcimer; avoid the battlefield. ;)
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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby danc9 » Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:40 am

Agreed, the traditionalist and contemporary folks have very different method. The instruments themselves are different but different is not wrong.

"It's your lap and your dulcimore, play it how you want!"


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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby GrantOlson » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:59 am

Ken would have to define dulcimer: a traditional dulcimer would be one without any frets. But if you say a dulcimer is just a box with curved sides, and some strings on it, then chromatic works too. I agree, play it how you want!
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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby philips » Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:14 am

Both diatonic and chromatic are dulcimers. Denigrating chromatic dulcimers like that is not helpful at all, because all playing styles and all dulcimers deserve respect.
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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby danc9 » Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:04 am

IMHO

In my earlier post I differentiated the traditional and contemporary pieces. I am a traditionalist. I define tradition as "that which does not change". The American zitter made by James Edward Thomas and the Pritchard brothers is what we are basing this description on. They got involved in "manufacture" post Civil War more than fifty years after the transitional period ended. They were and are diatonic instruments utilizing the seven church modes. They were and are played with a noter or finger across staples under the melody string. We've been at this for nearly two hundred years. I apologize in advance for my passion for "All Things Dulcimore". I believe it is an important piece of American History that needs to be preserved. For those who believe the American zither is just a variation of the European box zitters, I disagree. The transitional period converted the European box zitter to the American board zitter and that was mounted on a sound box. Regional variations to the sound box give us the shapes we know today. You may notice I don't refer to my instruments as "dulcimer", they are "dulcimore". With that being said, I can't speak on the Contemporary Dulcimer, I really don't know what it is or how to even define it. This statement will offend some, again I apologize in advance. It's not meant to be derogatory in any way.

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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby strumelia » Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:18 am

Jono wrote:Comments anyone?


Comments? Well, first off I'm glad you went back and edited your original post. :shock:

As others have said, everyone has different ideas about what characteristics 'make' something a mountain dulcimer, and it's not all black or white. Certainly everyone is going to have their own view about it. It's ok to disagree on such things, as long as it doesn't become a personal attack.
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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby strumelia » Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:24 am

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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby asterhunter » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:29 pm

Here's mine! :D

Let me in.jpg
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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby kwl » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:50 pm

I agree with Strumelia here. It is all in how one defines "dulcimer" or understands what the characteristics are that make a dulcimer a dulcimer. I tend to the more traditional view and define it as a diatonic instrument. Therefore an instrument that is shaped either teardrop or hourglass with a raised fret board that is fretted chromatically is not a dulcimer. Frankly, I don't know what to call it. On the other hand, it appears that the instrument is evolving and those that like this evolution call it a dulcimer. What matters is that we enjoy playing it and have fun sharing it with other.

Ken
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby Acmespaceship » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:04 pm

The English language is a marvelous thing. They call a chromatic harmonica... get ready for it... a "chromatic harmonica." To the best of my knowledge no harmonica players get upset about this.

Who would have expected MD players to be more argumentative than harmonica players !?

Every forum has its pet curmudgeons. Don't let them worry you. Speaking of pets, my buddy Obsidian is no longer a kitten -- perhaps we should call him a "chromatic kitten"? :lol:

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Re: A chromatic dulcimer is not "really" a dulcimer?

Postby strumelia » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:46 pm

Here's my Rufus. He's generally more catatonic than diatonic, and has been known to do a lot of extra fretting when his bowl is empty.
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