Start date: 15/08/20
End date: 22/08/20
Time: 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Online Events | Workshops

We are really pleased to bring you a pair of online hammered dulcimer groups lessons with internationally acclaimed musician Geoff Smith which introduce his complete approach to learning the hammered dulcimer.

Geoff Smith performing in China, October 2019.

Composer, performer, inventor, percussionist, vocalist, songwriter and teacher Geoff Smith is acknowledged both as a world-leading virtuoso and a unique innovator and pioneer in composition, technique and performance on the Hammered Dulcimer.

An Introduction to the complete approach to learning the Hammered Dulcimer

For Beginners to Advanced & Beyond

These two lessons feature a traditional English folk song, Searching for Lambs, and a modern folk classic, Light Flight by Pentangle, which have in common the time signature of 5/4. Both pieces can be played on a standard (diatonic) 12/11 hammered dulcimer.

Geoff will present the two lessons over two separate days.
Each lesson will be at least 1 hour plus an extra 10-15 minutes for summing up, advice and any questions & answers.

Geoff’s detailed, friendly and inclusive approach will develop your technique, rhythmic ability & hand independence, dynamics and expression as well as an understanding of composition. He also incorporates a unique focus on the use of percussion rudiments on the dulcimer.

Lesson Schedule

Saturday 15th August 4:00 pm (BST)

  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm Searching for Lambs
  • 5:00 – 5:15 pm approx: Summing Up / Q&A.

Saturday 22th August 4:00 pm (BST)

  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm Recap on lesson 1, then Light Flight by Pentangle
  • 5:00 – 5:15 pm approx: Summing Up / Q&A.

Lesson Descriptions

Lesson 1: 15th August 2020 4pm

Searching for Lambs

Searching for Lambs (sung by Mrs Sweet on August 16th 1907 at Somerton and transcribed by Cecil Sharp) is very rare: a traditional English folk song characterised by the use of an irregular time signature. It is in 5/4, apart from one bar of 3/4. Searching for Lambs utilises a G minor hexatonic scale (playable on a standard dulcimer without retuning) and the transcription of Mrs Sweet’s rendition can be found in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

The lesson uses an innovative methodology. This consists of 3 different versions of Searching for Lambs, for advanced beginner, intermediate and advanced players.. Each version will include the exact melody sung by Mrs Sweet in 1907.

The three versions of Searching for Lambs will not only provide an interrelated focus for the lesson but also a legacy for the participants who will be able to progress through the three versions with ongoing practice over time.

Lesson 2: Saturday 22nd August 2020 4pm

There will be a recap on the different versions of Searching for Lambs from lesson 1, and any questions that may have arisen as a result of participants’ practice.

Light Flight by Pentangle

In October 2019 Geoff performed at the 15th Yangqin World Congress in Hefei China. As part of his work at the Congress, he also orchestrated and arranged a special version of Light Flight by Pentangle for Yangqin students from the China Conservatory Beijing.

Geoff will focus on an extract from Light Flight for the second lesson. As in Searching for Lambs, Light Flight features the use of the irregular time signature of 5/4, making an interesting relationship between the lessons.

2019 was the 50th anniversary of Pentangle’s renowned album Basket of Light which features Light Flight. In the 12 bars of the main theme from Light Flight we hear 5/4 used in combination with 2/4. For those who know Light Flight, we often hum the melody without necessarily realising that we are actually using an irregular time signature with time signature changes. This lesson will also concentrate on the use of syncopation (specifically the use of light swing) which Pentangle use so effectively in this timeless folk / jazz song.

The lesson uses different versions (parts) for advanced beginner, intermediate and advanced. These versions will provide the vocal melody and separate instrumental accompaniment parts. This means that participants will also have the basis to collaborate in future by playing the parts from the song together in a session.


This workshop is for advanced beginners and above. It is designed to cater for multiple levels throughout the workshop. If you are not sure about the suitability of this workshop for you, please contact Sally Whytehead.

Music and other material for the lessons will be made available a few days beforehand. This is so that you are able to download handouts, and listen to any audio/video files in advance. If you have time, it will be helpful for you to listen to the music, and work though the tunes on your dulcimer before the class. This will let you focus on arrangements and applying techniques to the music.

You will need to be able to download an up-to-date version of Zoom (v.5.0 or later) before the workshop. A laptop or iPad work best, but a smart phone is also fine. If you are unfamiliar with the technology and need help, please contact Sally, or join one of the Nonsuch Online Zoom sessions to try it out.


The cost for the two lessons is £25.

Payment is via PayPal, Debit or Credit card at time of booking through our online booking form below.

Book Your Place Here

Contact Sally Whytehead if you have queries.