Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Some videos on how to make, tune and bow a Swedish keyed psalmodikon, also an American psalmodikon by MusicMakers of Stillwater, Minn.

It's all in the bowin'. -- Don Pedi, mountain dulcimer player, Madison County, N.C.

Gisli Olsen, a psalmodikon player in Sweden and member of the Nordic Psalmodikonförbundet, has put a video up on YouTube demonstrating how he made a kind of psalmodikon that's played by pressing keys, similar to those on a Swedish nyckelharp, on the melody string. Fortunately for us in America, his captions are in English.

It's of special interest to me, because the video clearly shows how he holds the bow. And, as I learned from master Appalachian dulcimer player Don Pedi of rural Madison County, N.C., playing a stringed instrument is all in right-hand technique, it's all in the bowin'. A dulcimer isn't a bowed instrument, of course, but Don's specialty is playing southern Appalachian fiddle tunes note-for-note on the dulcimer.

Here's Gisli Olsen:

Olsen's Facebook post is archived at https://www.facebook.com/gisli.olsen/posts/1040644839340308. Some of the comments are valuable. They're in Swedish, but if you click on the link that says "See Translation," Herr Professor Google will translate it for you!

Playing a Norwegian-style American psalmodikon

For a couple of years now Musicmakers, a luthiers' in Stillwater, Minnesota, has been making psalmodikons adapted from the Norwegian version of the instrument and fitted out with "transposition sticks" so they can be played with a montain dulcimer. (More information on their website at http://www.harpkit.com/ and their YouTube channel, directory of videos at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0mbv9_4M4o).

Psalmodikons by Musicmakers are set up so they can be played with mountain dulcimers tuned to DAA, DGD and other popular dulcimer tunings, and a modified version of dulcimer called a Strumbly. On their YouTube channel, they have an instructional video:

How to Play the Psalmodikon. Some basic tips on how to play the Psalmodikon by Musicmakers. Buy a Psalmodikon or a Psalmodikon kit at www.harpkit.com.

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