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I was a last-minute attendee at Cullowhee, took the place of our instructor who had became ill. Because I wanted to have different afternoon classes than she had chosen, I selected others. Unfortunately, the more "beginner" courses were already filled so, I chose blindly... one I chose was Stephen Siefert's Renaissance music class and, it would be the first day. It didn't take long in that class for me to figure out that I was definitely not experienced enough... the very first tune required a capo...I hadn't had a chance to purchase one (much less learn how to use one). So, I sat with my arms crossed over my dulcimer and tried to soak in what the others were doing. Stephen asked afterward if I had a problem... I told him I was in the wrong class. He asked which one had I signed up for and I told him... this one. Then, he said one of the nicest things... he said he did not expect me to know how to play these songs, that I was there to learn and did anyone have an extra capo. Well, from then on, the Renaissance class took on a new (nicer) flavor. I now know how to navigate those songs and I thank Stephen for being so kind. The Renaissance music is a far cry from what we've been doing here in north-central NC but, I find it intriguing. Has anyone else had experience with it?

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That was very sweet of Stephen to make you feel so comfortable. :)

I used to play the dulcimer with fingerpicking style and I think fingerpicking is particularly good for playing medieval and renaissance music on mtn dulcimer. It sounds rather lute-like that way. If you want to get into fingerpicking I would recommend Sue Carpenter's book on it- Patterns and Patchwork (or is it patchwork and patterns?)- excellent book, easy to understand and takes you from total beginner to fingerpicking to advanced, clearly written. i love all that archaic music.
A lot of Rennaissance music was flatpicked using very large plectrums (plectra?) so the strings were "plucked" one string/note at a time. When they did strum it was a lot of uni-directional strumming because the gut and early metal (bronze, copper) strings could not take a lot of stress or tension.
The tunes taught at that workshop are definitely flat picked, one note at a time but, very rhythmic and lute-like. I can happily report that I can play all except one of them... it requires a 1 1/2 fret, which I'm missing on both of my dulcimers. I don't know how to handle that problem.

Another afternoon class I attended was "Irish Airs" with Linda Brockington... so I got a good taste of fingerpicking too! A week to remember forever.
I am so going to be going to the next one. I've played Ren tunes but not on a dulcimer. Had to be a really interesting session indeed.
Interesting, for sure. But, a bit intimidating for a beginner.

Carson Turner said:
I am so going to be going to the next one. I've played Ren tunes but not on a dulcimer. Had to be a really interesting session indeed.
Hi, Sally.

Steve's a peach, and I love working with him. Excellent teacher. It's fortunate you got to be with us, but unfortunate that your teacher back home got sick. Hope she's OK.

I first learned Renaissance and Medieval music from the late Roger Nicholson's books and recordings. He really knew that style of music and a lot of other traditional English and European music. Tunes like "Allington Pavan," "Wyatt's Galliard," "La Volta," "Packington's Pound," mostly fingerpicked. I was a new player and these tunes certainly taught me a lot about left-hand fingering.

Here's Steve's description of his class last year that students signed up from:

"MEDIEVAL, ELIZABETHAN AND RENAISSANCE STYLE MUSIC FOR MOUNTAIN DULCIMER, with Stephen Seifert. Intermediate. Starting tuning DAD. Bring a capo. Stephen will walk you through Medieval melodies, Elizabethan lute pieces, and tunes from the Massif Central Region of France. Sound hard? They're not. Many of these tunes seem as if they had been written for the dulcimer. Stephen will also cover strumming, fingerpicking, and fingering techniques helpful in playing this music."

Glad you adjusted and got to like playing the music.

Lois Hornbostel
www.LoisHornbostel.com
http://Dulcimerville.com
It's weird to think that this thread started over six months ago already. !!

Anyway, since last August things have changed a bit for me. I have always loved listening to Renaissance and medieval music. In November I dusted off my 13 year old bowed psaltery and have been playing that kind of music on it for 3 months now. I have various old sheet music books with such music written out in simple melody lines in standard notation (a couple are Kitchen Musician books written with hammered dulcimer in mind, and other books for fiddle or recorder), and though I'm not very good at reading it, I am able to work out the tunes note by note and get familiar enough with them to play them on my psaltery. I have quite a few CDs of that music too, and I can always work out future tunes to try from that source as well.

I have always enjoyed the connections between Ren.&Medieval music and early American mountain folk music- you can often hear the archaic structures and intervals common to both.
Thanks for asking, our teacher/leader is much better.

Regarding Linda's class last year, she taught "For Ireland, I'd Not Tell Her Name", a beautiful, fingerpicked version that my husband just loves to hear. He's a new guitar student, learning basic chording technique and wanted to play along. Because the song requires a lot of concentration on my part, thus quite a lack of precise rhythm, I didn't feel confident about him playing along. So, I decided to try to simplify by strumming to come up with my own version. Found several YouTube versions, some instrumental and some vocal, both in Gaelic and English (luckily, all performed in the key of D...) on the the net and I play along not only with them but, with my husband. It sounds lovely.

I still feel that this was made possible from my experiences at Mountain Dulcimer Week last year. Thanks for doing it, Lois. Don't believe I'm going to be able to make it this year, we're trying to sell our house, to downsize, and this is taking all of our time (and money...).

Lois Hornbostel said:
Hi, Sally.

Steve's a peach, and I love working with him. Excellent teacher. It's fortunate you got to be with us, but unfortunate that your teacher back home got sick. Hope she's OK.

I first learned Renaissance and Medieval music from the late Roger Nicholson's books and recordings. He really knew that style of music and a lot of other traditional English and European music. Tunes like "Allington Pavan," "Wyatt's Galliard," "La Volta," "Packington's Pound," mostly fingerpicked. I was a new player and these tunes certainly taught me a lot about left-hand fingering.

Here's Steve's description of his class last year that students signed up from:

"MEDIEVAL, ELIZABETHAN AND RENAISSANCE STYLE MUSIC FOR MOUNTAIN DULCIMER, with Stephen Seifert. Intermediate. Starting tuning DAD. Bring a capo. Stephen will walk you through Medieval melodies, Elizabethan lute pieces, and tunes from the Massif Central Region of France. Sound hard? They're not. Many of these tunes seem as if they had been written for the dulcimer. Stephen will also cover strumming, fingerpicking, and fingering techniques helpful in playing this music."

Glad you adjusted and got to like playing the music.

Lois Hornbostel
www.LoisHornbostel.com
http://Dulcimerville.com

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