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Jean G. Shnitz - Jazz

Essay by   •  July 18, 2010  •  Essay  •  350 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,454 Views

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A different type of jazz flavor performance by Jean G. Shnitz really caught my eye. The reason it really got my attention over 9 other performances going on, was the instrument. The instrument she was playing was the Hammered Dulcimer. As I was privileged to speak with Ms. Shnitz, she explain to me that there are two types of dulcimers, one played like a violin but, not on the shoulder and the one she was playing with small mallet hammers.The hammered dulcimer is a stringed musical instrument with the strings stretched over a trapezoidal sounding board. Typically, the dulcimer is set on a stand, at an angle, before the musician, who holds small mallet hammers in each hand to strike the strings. The hammered dulcimer comes in various sizes, identified by the number of strings that cross each of the bridges. A 15/14, for example, has two bridges (treble and bass) and spans three octaves. The strings of a hammered dulcimer are usually found in pairs, two strings for each note (though some instruments have three or four strings per note). Each set of strings is tuned in unison and is called a course. As with a piano, the purpose of using multiple strings per course is to make the instrument louder, although as the courses are rarely in perfect unison, a chorus effect usually results. A hammered dulcimer, like an autoharp or harp, requires a tuning wrench for tuning. Unlike the strings of a guitar, the dulcimer's strings are wound around simple bolts, called tuning pins with square heads. One piece that I enjoyed she was playing was called a Traveler's Dream originally composed by Maggie Sansone which was a very light rhythm beat repeated by 8 measures. My overall rating of this concert I thought was excellent due to one will rarely get a chance to hear this instrument. One thing I did not like about this concert was I wish she would have played more and also introduced to the audience the sound of the other dulcimer and a originally piece of her own.

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