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Group Description

Welcome to the Bowed Dulcimer Friends Yahoo Group. It is devoted to those who are already playing a bowed dulcimer, are interested in playing one, or wonder what a bowed dulcimer is.

The BD Friends features Ken Bloom: luthier, performer and teacher. The idea of bowing the dulcimer is a very old one, easily traceable back to at least the 18th century. Before the Civil War this technique was common. There are examples of older bowed dulcimers in the Mercer Museum in Pennsylvania with their original bows. There are also accounts that tell us there were areas of the country where the instrument was played only with a bow. Evidence is still spotty but this manner of playing seems to have continued right down to the modern era.

Ken was first aware of the technique back in the 70's, but with a flat bridge it was only possible to bow the low or the high string - a pleasant effect, but not very versatile. It soon occurred to him that he could build an instrument making much better use of the bowing technique as well as sounding much better. This led him on what turned out to be about a 4 year quest In Search of the Bowed Dulcimer.

Ken is currently building these models: Standard, D'Amore, Hardanger, Bass (D-A-D tuned an octave lower), Double bass (cello fingerboard w/4 strings), Octave violin style; Pocket cello; Pardessus (2 feet long/12 inches shorter than a standard bowed dulcimer), and the newest member of the family, Grand Pardessus - only an inch or so taller than a Pardessus, but strung with viola strings and tuned lower, the same octave as a standard bowed dulcimer or viola, D-A-d or C-G-d-a.

The bowed dulcimer sounds similar to a cello or viola but with it's own unique reediness. Ken's BD's are basically dulcimers on the outside and gambas on the inside. They are a wonderful alternative for those who want that fiddle sound but find a fretless fingerboard Terror Object #142.

If you have any questions,email kbloom1@triad.rr.com or gwest1955@aol.com

Group Information

  • 266
  • Dulcimer
  • Apr 12, 2005
  • English

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