Time: 15:00 - 17:30

Major Events | Online Events | Workshops

We are pleased to offer this UK/Europe-facing online workshop with Jessica Comeau (USA) on Zoom, for advanced beginner and above.

Jessica Comeau, from Pensacola, Florida, is a young mountain dulcimer player with numerous YouTube followers, attracted by her obvious passion for the dulcimer and her natural charm.  As a lover of music and literature, she is especially fond of music from

Jessica Comeau

the Celtic, British, and medieval European traditions. As a qualified teacher, she provides good structures and materials for students, while providing space for them to make the music their own.

A Bouquet of Songs

Join us online to explore a variety of musical traditions, while learning and practicing techniques for producing smoother, more expressive sounds on the mountain dulcimer. These techniques will include clean fretting, clean fingering, sustain, and smooth note and chord transitions. We will address techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides as we encounter them in the music. For some songs, we will use D-A-D’s sister tuning C-G-C, which is also compatible with D-A-D tablature.

Workshop Schedule

Timetable for 14th June, 2020

  • Session 1: 15.00 – 15.40   (followed by short interval)
  • Session 2:  15.50 – 16.30 (followed by short interval)
  • Session 3:  16.45 – 17.30

Workshop Descriptions

Cantigas de Santa Maria

In this session, we will play a selection from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, a sequence of popular medieval Marian songs written and composed in Spain in the 13th century. The mood of these songs ranges from the reverently meditative to the lively and playful.

  • Brief history of Cantigas de Santa Maria
  • Capo technique
    • Cantiga 26: Non é gran cousa (D-A-D, capo 1)
    • Cantiga 353: Quen a omagen (D-A-D, capo 1)

Parallel Traditions

Many ballads from England and Scotland travelled to the New World along with the immigrants to the Appalachian Mountains. There these ballads survived and evolved through what is called the folk process. The main elements of the narratives endured, but many other features changed in ways that reflected the new lives of the people who sang the ballads. We will look at a ballad that possesses parallel traditions in both the United Kingdom and the Appalachian Mountains of the United States as well as an American ballad derived from British tradition.

  • Discussion of folk process and ballad traditions
    • Lord Lovel (two variants) (C-G-C for both)
    • Coasts of High Barbary (D-A-D, capo 1; we can stay in C-G-C)


We will play two versions (basic and intermediate) of a favourite Celtic song with connections to the American song “The Water is Wide.”

  • Carrickfergus (Basic and Intermediate) (C-G-C) (will include embellishments and a harmonic)


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 Geoff Reeve-Black.

Music for the workshop will be released a few days beforehand.  Have a look at it but there’s no need to practice anything beforehand.  Jessica will want to lead you into each piece on the day and suggest appropriate techniques.

N.B. A dulcimer capo will be required for several of these sessions.  If you have a cantilevered fingerboard (one with slots underneath) you can improvise using a pencil or piece of dowelling, secured by a thick rubber band.  If you need to buy one, try Bird Rock Dulcimers or Revels Music.


The cost is £20. This is paid at time of booking, through our online booking form, below.

Book Your Place Here

Contact Geoff Reeve-Black if you have queries.