Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dulcimer: The sound of mountain music

The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum in Ferrum is displaying a quintessential Appalachian stringed instrument -- the dulcimer.

Article by Ralph Berrier Jr at
Ferrum --The mountain dulcimer is the quiet child in the Appalachian musical family.
Not as flashy as the fiddle or as brash as the banjo, the gentle tones of a dulcimer strummed rhythmically and melodically still stand out from its showy siblings and make the instrument a lasting staple of old-fashioned mountain music.
Like other instruments and the people who play them, the dulcimer is the child of immigrants, brought to America by German settlers in the 1700s. The dulcimer made its way down the Great Wagon Road of the Shenandoah Valley and into the Blue Ridge, where local makers reshaped the instrument into something distinct.
The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum at Ferrum College is paying tribute to this quintessential mountain instrument with an exhibit of more than 90 handmade dulcimers, many of them a century or more older. "The Virginia Dulcimer: 200 Years of Bowing, Strumming, & Picking" is on display at the institute's DuPont Galley.
"We've spent 30-plus years on that exhibit," said Roddy Moore, director of the Blue Ridge Institute. "A lot of looking went into it. A lot of talking to families and collectors. Several of these instruments have been in the same family for years and were passed down." ...

Read this entire article with photos here

Kimberly Burnette-Dean is a former interpreter at Virginia's Explore Park, who has played and researched dulcimers since she was a teenager. She is now library assistant at the Roanoke County Library's Vinton branch. To hear her play some tunes,click here.
To read Burnette-Dean's blog about mountain dulcimers, go here.

The Blue Ridge Institute is just 8 miles from The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast, go to the end of our street and that's it! It is on the grounds of Ferrum College, in Ferrum VA. We highly recommend a visit!

Rocky Mount is the start of The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail. We are just one block from the first roadside kiosk on this trail! Tap yer toes in Blue Ridge Country!

If you are looking to purchase a handmade stringed instrument, we recommend James Jones Instruments in Bedford VA (Bedford is about 50 minutes from us).


Life is too short for bad coffee...Shellie your innkeeper @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount, VA - Blue Ridge Country! You can book your room online at any time right here

The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast is 15 miles to three exits off The Blue Ridge Parkway.  We are located at the half-way point of this beloved road in Virginia, exit at MP 121.  We were awarded a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor - click here to see our certificate.