Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions

Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions

by Ralph Lee Smith
     
 

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The Appalachian dulcimer is one of America's major contributions to world music and folk art. Handmade and played by people with no formal knowledge of music, this beautiful instrument entered the folk revival following World War II with virtually no written record. Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions tells the fascinating story of the effort to recover the

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Overview

The Appalachian dulcimer is one of America's major contributions to world music and folk art. Handmade and played by people with no formal knowledge of music, this beautiful instrument entered the folk revival following World War II with virtually no written record. Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions tells the fascinating story of the effort to recover the instrument's lost heritage through fieldwork in the Southern mountains, finding old instruments, and listening to the tales of old folks. After reviewing the dulcimer's distinctive musical features, Ralph Lee Smith presents a chronological story from the German Renaissance instrument called a Scheitholt to the dulcimer in America-describing the development of distinctive dulcimer styles in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. The tale continues into the twentieth century, through a final group of tradition-based Appalachian makers whose work flowed into the national scene of the folk revival.

This fully revised edition provides expanded information about the history of the Scheitholt and the dulcimer before the Civil War and discusses traditions and types still being discovered and documented. Smith also adds his personal adventures in researching the dulcimer's history. A new, final chapter describes types and styles that don't fit conveniently into the mainstream development of the instrument. The book concludes with several appendixes, including measurements of representative dulcimers and listings of dulcimer recordings in the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress.

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Editorial Reviews

Folk Roots
Don't leave...thinking this book will interest only the hardened dulcimer fans. It is too entertainingly written for that. As befits a professional journalist, the author traces the finer points of dulcimerology, down to the various shapes of the sound holes, without losing or confusing or boring the reader. Moreover, there is a wealth of information which anyone into Appalachian music will find extremely useful. It is profusely illustrated...the world has never been too flush for books on the Appalachian dulcimer. This is a welcome addition to a restricted market..
Booknews
Folklorist and musician Smith follows tenuous threads to trace the evolution of this slightly mysterious instrument. A garage sale find may lead to a Library of Congress reference, then to surviving descendants of dulcimer makers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Includes sections on regional styles and contemporary makers. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Ethnomusicology
Smith's research...has been extensive and generally well documented, and his book will be a useful resource for anyone interested in the dulcimer, Appalachian history, or folk music in general.
American Musical Instrument Society
Ralph Lee Smith has set forth six well-illustrated chapters concerned with dulcimer traditions in the Allegheny, Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains of Southern Appalachia.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810874114
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
03/19/2010
Series:
American Folk Music and Musicians Series, #13
Edition description:
Second Edition
Pages:
202
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Ralph Lee Smith is a leading authority on the history of the Appalachian dulcimer and is a performer of traditional American folk music.

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