Articles & the Press

in praise of DAA – the forgotten tuning ?


I was first introduced to the Appalachian dulcimer (as we called it then) back in the early 70’s and, at that time, DAA would have been the main tuning used for major scale songs and tunes.  For me, living in England, London’s Roger Nicholson was a major influence when I started out and Roger used DAA as his major scale tuning.

Today, as the reader will know, DAD is by far the most dominant tuning for the modern mountain dulcimer and DAA is now perhaps seen as a dated and/or beginner’s tuning.  This film however, made in 2021, of Roger’s pastoral piece Spring Season may challenge that perception.

In this article I’d like to demonstrate that DAA is not only alive and well but can be used to play meaningful, and perhaps even moving, dulcimer music.


book review: Pluck, David Schnaufer’s biography

‘Pluck – The Extraordinary Life and Times of David Schnaufer’

by Linda Paulus

an informal book review by Dan Evans

first impressions

At over £37 from Amazon UK and with over 500 pages for the main story alone, this paperback represents quite an investment of time and money.  So is it worth it ?

Schnaufer’s story is written in the present tense with an ease that seems to make the pages turn more quickly than usual.  I enjoy reading but I’m often put off by very long stories.  Here however, I found myself on page 300 in seemingly no time, eager to read on and find out what happens next.


interview in Unicorn magazine

I stumbled across this interview for Unicorn folk magazine (UK) in my files today.  My wife and I met the editor: Simon Bailes, while we were on holiday in the Lake District in May 2014.  Simon was working away from home nearby in Cumbria at that time, so we met up and shared a meal together.  Following this acquaintance, Simon both interviewed me for Unicorn and, later, reviewed my Au Vieux Moulin CD, which was in the making at the time.


my back catalogue

part 8 ~ CD albums ctnd…

inspired by a stay at an old water mill in France where the tile track was composed, Au Vieux Moulin (2014) is my favourite and most popular CD to date – with only a little guitar, this album is a showcase for the fingerpicked dulcimer, featuring pieces from medieval to modern music in a variety of different tunings – especially important are four new minimalist pieces for the dulcimer, including the title track Le Ruisseau Du Moulin (The Mill Stream)


What Is A Dulcimer ?

“What is a dulcimer ?” is perhaps the question I’m most often asked – this blog aims to answer that question and to give a little background to this charming instrument, as well as my own approach to it

the dulcimers that I play are members of the zither family, not to be confused with the hammered dulcimer, which is a trapezoid-shaped percussion instrument


dulcimer strings

advice on strings for mountain dulcimers


I am often asked which string gauges I use on my dulcimers – this blog aims to answer that question – but I first need to explain some of the peripheral issues for my answer to make complete sense …


the difference between rhythm and timing

the difference between rhythm and timing in music

In music, timing and rhythm are two completely different things.  This issue has cropped up a few times on my workshops, so I created this blog post to help to explain the difference between two.  Clarity for me came when I considered the difference between a timing change and a rhythm change within the same piece of music.  So, as well as defining the terms, I have included in this blog examples from my dulcimer repertoire of both type of changes.


Making Music

practical tips for aspiring musicians 

these helpful hints are presented here as they were published in the British monthly magazines MK Pulse and NN Pulse from March 2021 


Dulcimer Diaries

amusing anecdotes from my music work ~ these stories are presented here as they were published in the British magazines MK Pulse and NN Pulse between March 2020 and February 2021 – they are all true 


amplification & effects for dulcimers ~ part 2

this article was published in the UK’s Nonsuch Dulcimer Club newsletter   

amplification and effects for mountain dulcimer ~ part 2 ~ electric dulcimers

Following on from part 1, my previous article on amplifying acoustic dulcimers, this article now focuses on the electric dulcimer.  Electric guitar technology is now very mature so this could have been a huge topic.  My aim here however, is to offer an introduction to the technology as a starting point for aspiring electric dulcimer players and to help them avoid some of the common pitfalls.


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