For Hammered Dulcimer Players

Video 1

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Introduction to Dampers In the introduction, Steve gives a little history about the damper pedal as it evolved for dulcimer players. Then he shows how the damper on the right side of the dulcimer dampens or affects the tone of certain strings, while the damper on the left side of the dulcimer dampens the tone of the rest of the strings.
2. How Dampers Work Here Steve describes how the mechanical functions of dampers differ among the different companies building them. Then he plays a short tune to demonstrate the marimba-like tone that results on his own dulcimer when the damper pedal is pressed down.
3. How to Use Dampers 1 You could play the tune through completely using the damper, and then play it through again without the damper - creating variety in the tone and spirit of the tune. You will probably be able hear the individual sounds of a "ruff" (a multiple bounce hammering technique) better than when the strings are allowed to continue vibrating and sustain their tone.
4. How to Use Dampers 2 If you want to sound of a tune to sound different from the rest of the tune, You could use the damper pedal to accomplish that. Or you might use the damper pedal during certain arpeggios, to keep the sound from getting muddy.
5. How to Use Dampers 3 When he repeats a section in a lower octave, you may heari a lot of sustained tones. Steve will often depress the dampers to get a clearer, cleaner sounding tone for that section of the tune.

Music GlobeExtras

  • Dan Landrum is an artist who uses the damper pedal frequently in his performances. He wrote an original tune called DragonFlies as an apology to all the dragonflies he killed with his tennis racket as a child. See Dan and Aaron O'Rourke perform his original tune and watch the dampers go up and down as he plays.

  • In this video Ted Yoder talks about the hammered dulcimer damper system setup and troubleshooting for Master Works hammered dulcimers.

  • Watch Ted Yoder's use of the dampers in his beautiful arrangement of We Three Kings. He begins and ends the song using the dampers, and separates sections with intervals that are dampened.

  • Here is another Christmas favorite, Joy to the World, performed by Mark Wade. The camera is right over the damper on the right side, so you will be well able to see and hear when the dampers are depressed.
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