Dulcimer concert set for Simon Kenton Festival

The Limestone Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution will present a dulcimer display and concert during the Simon Kenton Festival in Old Washington Sept. 15 and 16.

Jeffrey A Lambert, master dulcimer luthier, will showcase his dulcimer display at the Paxton Inn during the festival. The dulcimer musical instrument is in the midst of a revival, as people around the world are learning to play this unique and historic instrument. The dulcimer with its sweet simple music has been called many names, including the Appalachian dulcimer and lap dulcimer. The state of Kentucky has named the dulcimer as the state instrument. It is thought to have originated sometime in the mid-1800’s.

Traditionally dulcimers have three strings; melody, the middle and the bass. The four-stringed dulcimer is commonly arranged so that the melody string is doubled up and therefore is actually a variation of the three. The melody is generally played on the first two strings and the other two2 are considered “drone” strings.

Placing the instrument horizontally across a table or lap, typically the musician’s right hand strums the strings with fingers or a pick. The left hand plays a melody line by pressing down on the fretboard with a twig or fingers. The dulcimer is considered one of the easiest instruments to learn, with many musicians playing simply by ear. If one can hum a song, more than likely they will soon be able to play it on the dulcimer.

The shape of a dulcimer can be quite varied with the most traditional shapes being a tear-drop, hour-glass, rectangle or diamond shape. The shape of the sound board does not really affect the instrument’s sound but does reflect the region it was built in and the style of the craftsperson making it.

The Fleming County Dulcimer Club will present a dulcimer concert on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Paxton Inn. Everyone is welcome to attend. Tours of the Inn will be available.