Categories for Interesting Tidbits

What is a Hammered Dulcimer?

February 17, 2023 2 Comments

By Nicolette Foss Oftentimes, when people hear the word “dulcimer”, they automatically think of the narrow-bodied zither whose fretted fingerboard is plucked or strummed. Well, this ain’t it!  The hammered dulcimer is often confused with this more well-known zither, which is called the mountain (or Appalachian) dulcimer. And while they are both zithers played in the folk music world, that is where the similarities end. How’d they end up with the same name? Nobody knows, but in this article, we are... Read More →

 9 Dulcimer Hammer Styles From Around the World

December 1, 2022 Leave your thoughts

by Nicolette Foss With the hammered dulcimer, not only do you need a well-designed, quality instrument to create beautiful music, you will need a pair of hammers. Hammers are an essential part of producing good dulcimer sound. The hammers you choose should ideally suit your playing style, tone preferences, and dexterity capabilities. In a previous blog post, “7 Types of Hammered Dulcimers Around the World“, we explored some of the most common hammered dulcimer variations around the world. Now we... Read More →

Are You Guilty of These 10 Hammered Dulcimer Beginner’s Bad Habits?

April 13, 2022 8 Comments

By Nicolette Foss Not knowing what you don’t know is the hardest part of being a newbie. So you grip your poor hammers for dear life as you hunch over the dulcimer for odd hours, trying to decode “How to play the hammered dulcimer” YouTube videos. They may as well be in another language! At this point are you even having fun anymore? You might just be reinforcing bad habits that will be harder to kick later on. That is... Read More →

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Musician Spotlight: Val Cortoni

March 26, 2022 Leave your thoughts

By Nicolette Foss We did a series of Zoom interviews with Val Cortoni, a French poly-instrumentalist, songwriter, and sound engineer. Val focuses on the integration of old-world acoustics with modern production techniques.  Val Cortoni’s repertoire on the hammered dulcimer includes everything from Celtic to baroque to death metal and video game themes. His covers are varied, while his own compositions often center on the newly-evolving synth-folk genre.  We discussed his musical interests, influences, as well as recording and mixing the... Read More →

7 Types of Hammered Dulcimers Around the World

February 3, 2022 8 Comments

By Nicolette Foss In the modern music genres of today, there is no doubt the hammered dulcimer is pretty obscure. Most people will look at you blankly, scratch their head and say, “Hammered dulcimer, what’s that?” But believe it or not, the hammered dulcimer is well known in certain pockets of the world. It shares an extensive family tree with similar instruments that have a rich history and vibrant communities of players just like you.  In this article, we will... Read More →

Musician Spotlight: The Lady Victoria

November 19, 2021 Leave your thoughts

By Nicolette Foss   You may have come across this lively member of Renaissance Festival royalty performing on the hammered dulcimer all over the world. Or you may have seen her on various social media platforms where she dresses in exquisite costume and performs as The Lady Victoria.  The Lady Victoria (aka Victoria Van Arnam) is a rising star in the hammered dulcimer community. She has amassed a copious following on TikTok where she spreads Celtic folk tunes to the... Read More →

3 Ways Making Music Can Combat Stress

November 9, 2021 3 Comments

By Nicolette Foss We are all affected by stress. But the effects of stress are not always as noticeable as that all-too-familiar eye twitch brought on by a grueling workday. Tension can build up from seemingly innocuous situations like the rush at the cash register to make way for the next customer in line. Or the extra 15 minutes added onto a rainy morning commute when you’re already late.  These tiny worries can pile up and lead to health problems... Read More →

Where Did the Hammered Dulcimer Originate?

July 19, 2021 13 Comments

By Nicolette Foss Today the hammered dulcimer is played in some of the farthest corners of the world. Its music has enriched the lives of people everywhere; from the traditional silk and bamboo genre of China to the folk music festivals of the U.S. But where did this instrument come from and how has it intermingled with history? In this article, we will take a trip back in time to discover the instrument’s humble beginnings and follow the evolution of... Read More →