Dulcimer Playing Styles


Scarlet - Bonnie Carol Dulcimer

My hope is that this page will contain a breakdown of the different ways of playing the Mountain Dulcimer and more clearly defining the different playing styles and techniques.  It’s a long road to completing this so it will be a work in progress for some time.  The first process was breaking it down into two distinct ways to play the dulcimer.

  • Traditional
  • Modern (non-traditional)

On the Everything Dulcimer forum we are currently discussion the breakdown of the techniques that fall under each group.  My goal, is to accumulate video and/or sound files showcasing each technique presented.  Every dulcimer player out there can help with this project!  Make it a reality and submit your ideas either here or through Everything Dulcimer.  All files will be considered for submission!

The terms Style and Technique started to seem a bit off to me.  If we change the wording to two different WAYS to approach the mountain dulcimer, we can save the word Style for describing left way the left hand works.  Style is a commonly used word amongst dulcimer folks discussions and why change something that people are used to?

To review:

There is no wrong way to play the Mountain Dulcimer, but there are generally two accepted directions a person can take, traditional and modern.  Each can be broken down into two sub-categories, left hand styles and right hand techniques. The styles and techniques will then have additional breakdowns from those who know and play them to add the ability  personalize and specialize.  There are so many different possibilities, all will never be covered, but enough to give newer players or even experienced players a direction to take and explore.  This breakdown is  for those looking for a path to follow or a different direction to take.  It is not meant to be doctrine, for many people have different ideas and names for the many different styles and techniques this is just one way.

This page, for now, will cover the path to making this a reality.  Once it gets to a place where things start to meld together this narrative will break off so the guts of the breakdown will remain unobstructed.


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