By Ralph Lee Smith
This booklet describes the restoration of the Appalachian dulcimer's misplaced heritage, tracing the dulcimer's roots in a German software, the scheitholt; describing the early historical past of the scheitholt and the dulcimer in the USA, and outlining the advance of specified dulcimer types in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. This totally revised and elevated variation presents additional info concerning the instrument's background sooner than the Civil warfare and discusses traditions and kinds which are nonetheless being chanced on and documented.
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Additional info for Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions
From 1853 until the 1880s, when newer photographic methods largely supplanted tintypes, itinerant tintype photographers roamed the land, taking thousands of images and selling them for 10 or 15 cents each. They brought photographs and photography to everyone for the first time. And they also created an enormous body of folk and genre images, of which this photo of a scheitholt player is one. ) Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes all produce reverse images— that is, the kind of image that you see in a mirror.
Woodcut from Syntagma Musicum by Michael Pretorius, published in 1619. Instrument no. ” 24 Chapter 2 THE SCHEITHOLT/ZITTER IN AMERICA The scheitholt came to America with early German settlers. Or at least, a clear memory of it came, since it seems likely that an instrument that a skilled German craftsman could easily make would rarely have been carried in the crowded conditions of the crossing. The instrument was soon being made and played in the German settlements in Pennsylvania. However, the name did not come to America with the instrument, and thereby hangs one of the many naming problems in our tale.
The playing implement struck the dulcimer’s narrow fretboard instead of the body, reducing the destabilizing effect of strumming, and the wider soundbox added to the instrument’s stability. FROM GERMAN TO ENGLISH FOLK CULTURE Many 20th-century observers, including me, guessed that the scheitholt had passed across cultures from the Germans to English-speaking people on the early frontier, and that the English-speaking people had modified it into the dulcimer. The Scotch-Irish, in particular, were famous borrow- Early Traces and Trails 41 ers.
Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions by Ralph Lee Smith