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Want Music at Your Event?

It would be an honor to bring our music to your event.

  • Folk Music Event/Concert
  • Music and Arts Festivals
  • Public and Holiday Events
  • Church Events
  • Funerals


We'd love to hear from you!  Contact us at 309/530-0997 or info@dulcimerdreams.com.

Q1.What is a dulcimer and why are there two different types?

A: Dulcimer comes from the Latin, dulce melos, meaning sweet sound. The mountain dulcimer is a uniquely American instrument, coming to us from the Appalachian mountains. It is descended from the European zither.

The hammered dulcimer comes to us from Persia, many centuries before Christ. It is trapazoid shaped and generally played by strking with mallets or hammers, hence the name. These instruments produce two different sounds and are played in different ways.

Q2. How does the design or the shape of the dulcimer affect its sound?

A: In general, mountain dulcimers come in a tear drop shape and a figure - 8 shape. But it is the wood and size combination that gives each dulcimer its own unique characteristics. Larger dulcimers, especially those with deep sides, tend to be louder with deeper resonance. Smaller dulcimers offer a crisper, more tenor sound. Of course, these are sweeping generalizations, and fail to take into account other factors.

Hammered dulcimers are all trapazoid shaped and their sounds are affected by both wood types and quality, more expensive instruments generally sounding better.

Q3. What type of wood makes the best dulcimer?

A: This is a tough question, and one which will prompt widely varying answers from different craftsmen. different types of woods provide different tones and sound qualities, so the answer depends a lot on what sound you want to get out of the dulcimer. Walnut provides a very warm and soft tone. This is very good for playing in close quarters and quiet settings, I prefer to use a walnut mountain dulcimer dulcimer if I am going to sit down to a long practice seeion as the soft tone is less wearing on the ear. The problem with a walnut dulcimer is it can be hard to hear it in a noisy setting or playing in a group as the soft tones tend to get swallowed up.

On the other hand, red cedar or spruce for the body will give out a louder, crisper tone. This is preferred if you are playing in a group or noisy setting so you can hear yourself play.

Q4. Does soundhole design have any effect on the sound of the dulcimer?

A: Very little, if any. Overly large sound holes will eliminate too much wood from the body and thus cut down on the reverberation.

Q5. How hard is it to learn to play the dulcimer?

A: MD: You can learn to play tunes along the melody string within just a few minutes and some minor instruction.

To learn chords and combinations of course takes longer and depends mainly on how much your are willing to practice.

Hammered dulcimer is more difficult of course, but still not as hard as it looks. It is probably the most logically arranged instrument as the different keys are each contained within a box across the bridge.

Q6. Who are your favorite players?

A: For mountain dulcimer:

Larry Conger, Mike Anderson,Linda Brockington, Tull Glazner, Dave Haas

Hammered Dulcimer

Rick Thum, Andy Young, Guy George, David Moran, Peggy Carter, Joemy Wilson and Karen Ashbrook

Q7. What kind of music can I expect you to play at my event?

A: At churches we play traditional hymns unless it is for a picnic or other such event in which case we play Irish and fiddle tunes also. For 'background' music events we play a variety with seasonal tunes added. We also have a classical repertoire including: Sheep May Safely Graze, Canon in D, Ode to Joy, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, Shepherd's Wife's Waltz, Mouret Rondeau, Greensleeves, O'Carolan compositions, Simple Gifts, Isle of Innisfree, Danny Boy and Be Thou My Vision.

Q8. How can I contact Dulcimer Dreams?

A: Go to contact us or booking, call 309/530-0997 or info@dulcimerdreams.com

Check the LINKS page for online addresses and more detail about these and other resources.