Songs that mention Dulcimers

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Songs that mention Dulcimers

Postby Sheila » Sat Aug 09, 2003 9:51 pm

This morning in church, the minister of music introduced a new hymn to us called "O Thou in Whose Presence". Our church tries to introduce us to songs in the hymnal that are more obscure, one per month, calling it the hymn of the month. For those who are interested, it was number 36 in the "Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal". Imagine my surprise when the second verse started out "His voice, as the sound of the dulcimer sweet"! I did a bit of research, and discovered the words are based on verses from the Song of Solomon. I knew that the dulcimer is mentioned in the Bible, but I had never heard a hymn that mentioned the instrument. Does anyone know of any other hymns or songs in general that mention the dulcimer?
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Postby marcy » Sat Aug 09, 2003 10:30 pm

I've heard "His voice, as the sound of the dulcimer sweet" in a shape-note hymn called Samanthra or Samarantha. John McCutcheon recorded it, either on Step by Step or Fine Times at Our House. From what I remember, the King James mistakenly translated that word as dulcimer, in the psalms. I think the word actually referred to a kind of bagpipes.
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Postby jakstall » Sat Aug 09, 2003 10:39 pm

It is my understanding that the word translated as "dulcimer" in the Bible is most likely a version of the Persian cynbalom which is akin to the hammered dulcimer. There is some dispute about exactly what the Biblical "dulcimer" is, however. I have heard theories raning from a harp to a Persian HD to the bagpipe like instrument Marcy suggests. John Denver's "Berkley Woman" refers to the mountain dulcimer: "I saw a Berkley Woman Sittin' in a rockin' chair A dulcimer in her lap and a flower in her hair..."
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songs that mention dulcimer

Postby Rosalie » Sun Aug 10, 2003 11:30 am

Andy Robinson has a song called I Play the Dulcimer ".....I'll play those eighth notes, quarter notes, half notes, whole notes Every now and then I play a rest I play the dulcimer That's what I do best." Really cool song on his CD The Andy Robinson Band
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Postby kwl » Sun Aug 10, 2003 5:14 pm

Just a couple of comments: Berkley Woman, although, recorded by John Denver, was actually written by autoharp virtuoso, Bryan Bowers. In the KJV, Daniel 3:5, 10 etc. mentions the dulcimer. Even the Hebrew is rather obscure, but as you've pointed out, it was more probably a reed instrument rather and a stringed instrument that is referred to in those passages. I wasn't aware of the other places where the KJV used the word dulcimer. Now I need to go and check a concordance.
Last edited by kwl on Sun Aug 10, 2003 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Songs that mention Dulcimers

Postby dulcimerman » Sun Aug 10, 2003 7:11 pm

Hi here is part of a song I heard 2 or 3 times many years ago, I never could get it all down. I beleave Ray Epler form W. V. wrote and sang this one. It had a good tune. Mountain Dulcimer Listen to the tune I'll play you now, If you'll insist I'll show you how. I'ts a melody that you can play, if you will practice some. Listen to my mountain dulcimer, Ringing out its message loud and clear. Sweetest sound that you can ever hear.
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Postby folkfan » Sun Aug 10, 2003 9:12 pm

Hi All, I did a quick rereading of the Shir HaShirim or The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's and in my translation Chapter 2:14 "Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; For sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely." There's no mention of a dulcimer . In Daniel 3:5 and 3:10 it mentions the horn, pipe, harp,trigon (a triangular lyre),psaltery,bagpipe, and all kinds of music. I quoting from a translation according to the masoretic text from the Jewish Publication Society. The dulcimer isn't mentioned but the psaltery is. Has anyone else located a verse where the dulcimer (I think probably psaltery) is mentioned. Play on, FF
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Postby kwl » Sun Aug 10, 2003 11:32 pm

FolkFan, the only reference I knew to the dulcimer was in the King James Version of the Holy Bible. That is the passages from Daniel. I'm not aware of any other place where the Hebrew word translated by the KJV as dulcimer is translated in the same way. I don't know of any other translation that uses the word dulcimer in it. However, I am not familiar with every translation of the Holy Bible.
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Postby Gail Knapp » Mon Aug 11, 2003 8:50 am

Sheila, Can you email me a copy of that song that you mentioned. It is right down my alley. I tend to pick obscure songs to do on my dulcimer. They fit in so well singing in church settings. bgknapp@ok.pr1mera.com is my email address. Thanks, Gail this is a great thread, ya'll. I never thought about singing a song with the dulcimer word in it....isn't that funny...LOL! Rolled Eye GailK
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Postby jakstall » Mon Aug 11, 2003 9:50 am

Ken, Thanks for correcting me on the author of Berkley Woman. I thought it might not be Denver's work, but didn't check Frown I appreciate the information. I did a search on "dulcimer" in several translations. I found the word used 3 times in Daniel 3 in the King James and American Standard translations. Others translated the word as trigon, bagpipe, pipes, symphony and lyre. I also did a little more reading and it seems that there are more folks than I realized who think this was a reeded instrument rather than stringed, although many do think it may be a stringed instrument. There isn't a lot said in the commentaries since exactly what the instrument is doesn't impact the meaning of the text which is the story of Daniel's buddies Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-nego) getting an inside look Wink at the fiery furnace.
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Postby LDDulcimer » Mon Aug 11, 2003 10:20 am

I took a quick look at the original word used in the references in Daniel for "dulcimer". Here is a quick clip from a web commentary: ---------------------- Dulcimer Hebrew: sumphoniah a musical instrument mentioned in Dan. 3:5, 15, along with other instruments there named, as sounded before the golden image It was not a Jewish instrument. In the margin of the Revised Version it is styled the "bag-pipe." Luther translated it "lute," and Grotius the "crooked trumpet." It is probable that it was introduced into Babylon by some Greek or Western-Asiatic musician. Some Rabbinical commentators render it by "organ," the well-known instrument composed of a series of pipes, others by "lyre." The most probable interpretation is that it was a bag-pipe similar to the zampagna of Southern Europe.
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