Our Nonsuch Annual Weekend 2021 will be held online again this year! We have a wonderful three days of events planned for both hammered and mountain dulcimer players, including a concert and an online jam session. Workshops are available for all levels of player from advanced beginner to advanced. All events will be held via Zoom.
In addition, new this year, we have an extra programme on the Friday led by our members. Find out about instrument maintenance, choosing an instrument and more. We also have lectures focusing on the history of both of our instruments, hammered and mountain dulcimer.
- Jessica Comeau (MD) (USA)
- Carol Crocker (MD) (USA)
- Colin Beasley (HD) (USA)
- Stephen Humphries (HD) (USA)
Annual Weekend Events
- Tutor Workshops for Hammered and Mountain Dulcimer players (Saturday & Sunday).
- Friday Features (Friday Afternoon)
- Remembering John Shaw with music and memories, led by Geoff Reeve-Black (Friday night)
- Nonsuch Annual General Meeting (AGM) (Saturday)
- Tutor Concert featuring all of our tutors (Saturday)
- Online Session with tune-leaders (Sunday: 7:30 – 9:30pm)
Tutor Workshops Cost: £25 per workshop
You can choose one of the Hammered Dulcimer or Mountain Dulcimer workshops at a particular level for each afternoon. You can register for Saturday and/or Sunday workshops. Some workshops are one single topic with additional depth. Others offer two sessions with different topics covered within the workshop – registration is for the entire workshop from 3:00 – 5:45pm.
We are offering two levels of workshops each day – for (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate) and for (Intermediate/Advanced). The Advanced Beginner sessions require only that you already know how to tune your instrument, and play a few simple tunes. There will be some overlap in the levels between these two – please choose the workshop that suits you best. Please check the workshop descriptions for details and contact Hilary Davies if you would like more guidance or information.
Saturday Afternoon Workshop 3:00 – 5:45 pm UK (11:00 am – 1:45 pm USA EDT)
Colin Beasley (Hammered Dulcimer –Advanced Beginner to Intermediate)
Stephen Humphries (Hammered Dulcimer – Intermediate to Advanced)
Carol Crocker (Mountain Dulcimer – Advanced Beginner to Intermediate)
- Unlocking the mystery of meter – 4/4, C, 3/4, 2/4, and 6/8
Jessica Comeau (Mountain Dulcimer – Intermediate to Advanced)
Sunday Afternoon Workshops 3:00 – 5:45 pm UK (10:00 – 12:45 am USA EST)
Stephen Humphries (Hammered Dulcimer – Advanced Beginner to Intermediate)
Colin Beasley (Hammered Dulcimer – Intermediate to Advanced)
Jessica Comeau (Mountain Dulcimer – Advanced Beginner to Intermediate)
Carol Crocker (Mountain Dulcimer – Intermediate to Advanced)
Friday Feature Workshops – Cost: Included in £5 Registration Fee
We are offering some additional workshops from Nonsuch members and others on other topics around playing and taking care of your dulcimer, and also on the history of both types of dulcimer. Links for all these workshops will be sent to all those who register for the weekend. You are free to choose which of the workshops you would like to attend.
Session 1: 3:00 – 4:00 pm UK (11:00 – 12:00 am USA EDT)
- Pete Bromwich & Jack Bethel – Workshop tour & Hammered Dulcimer Clinic
- Geoff Reeve-Black – Keeping Yourself and your Mountain Dulcimer Happy
Session 2: 4:30 – 5:30 pm UK (12:30 – 1:30 pm USA EDT)
- Jack Bethel – Glasgow Tradition of the Hammered Dulcimer
- Robin Clark – History and Tradition of the Mountain Dulcimer
Remembering John Shaw – No fee, all welcome
Friday evening: 7:30 – 9:00 pm UK (3:30 – 5:00 pm USA EDT)
Geoff Reeve-Black will lead a session of music and remembrances of John Shaw. John was a long-time member and leader of Nonsuch, and brought many tunes and arrangements to us. We will play some of the beautiful music that John loved as we remember him.. We will send out a mailing to all Nonsuch members and Annual Weekend participants in advance to ask for contributions and hope to have a mix of tunes for both instruments, together with memories and tributes to John.
Nonsuch Annual General Meeting (AGM) – No fee, members only
Saturday afternoon: 1:00 – 2:00 pm UK (9:00 – 10:00 am USA EDT)
Our Annual General Meeting is open to all Nonsuch members, including those who have not registered for the weekend. This meeting time is for discussion – voting for proposals associated with the AGM will be held using an online form. A Zoom link for the meeting, and also a link to the voting form will be sent to all members ahead of time, with the accompanying agenda , proposals and documentation.
Saturday Concert – Cost: £6 per person
Our four tutors will participate in an online concert from 7:30 – 9:00 pm.
Sunday Online Jam Session – Cost: Included in £5 Registration Fee
This will be an online session for all instruments. We will ask for suggestions and offers to lead tunes and songs in advance, and there will be a Nonsuch member hosting the session. This session will only be open to those who have registered for the weekend. A Zoom link will be sent with the information pack.
Tutor Workshop Descriptions
Jessica Comeau (Mountain Dulcimer) (USA)
Saturday, November 6th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (MD – Intermediate/Advanced)
Session 1: Colourful Fingerpicking
Introduce vibrant new techniques into your mountain dulcimer playing with colourful fingerpicking! In this workshop, we will engage with fingerpicking techniques as well as with various types of ornamentation that can add depth and unique style to your musical arrangements. A sampling of traditional melodies will guide us in practicing these new techniques: “The Lark in the Clear Air” and “Carrickfergus.” We will begin in D-A-D tuning.
Session 2: Medieval Yuletide and Christmas Music
Traditions and celebrations central to this time of year have for centuries given rise to songs of peace and joy. I invite you to join me in learning some unique medieval melodies in anticipation of Christmas and Yuletide. Songs will include “Cantiga 77: Da que deus mamou,” “Danielis Prophetia,” and “In des jares zircklikeit.” Please bring a capo! We will be exploring a variety of tunings and keys.
Sunday, November 7th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (MD – Adv. Beginner/Intermediate)
Mountain Porch Music (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate)
The mountain dulcimer began as an instrument played in the serene retreat of one’s own home. For people living in the Appalachian Mountains, music was a sincere, spontaneous expression of the rhythms of everyday life. The traditional Appalachian selections we will learn in this class are a tribute to the mountain dulcimer’s front porch origins. Our home tuning will be D-A-D. Song selections will include “Pretty Saro”, “Foggy Dew”, “Shady Grove”, “Chickens are A-Crowin’”, and “Cluck Old Hen.”
Carol Crocker (Mountain Dulcimer) (USA)
Saturday, November 6th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (MD – Adv. Beginner/Intermediate)
Unlocking the Mystery of Meter – 4/4, C, 3/4, 2/4, and 6/8
When you see those numbers and symbols at the beginning of a song, what does it mean? More than that, how do you count it and what does it mean for your strumming hand? Notes and counting can be a bit scary for many dulcimer players. In these sessions we will focus on unlocking the mystery of what all those numbers mean and how to apply them to strumming a variety of tunes with these meters. We will also cover a few surprise counting notations like tied notes.
Session 1: We will review note values and how to apply our counting and strumming with the more common even meters 4/4, C, and 2/4.
Session 2: We will focus on counting and strumming the more challenging meters of 3/4 and 6/8 and what to do with strumming tied notes.
Sunday, November 7th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (MD – Intermediate/Advanced)
Music of the North Georgia Sea Islands
The culture of the Georgia South Sea Islands represents some of the oldest forms of slave traditions in the African American communities of the United States and the western world. Even today, the people of this region still speak the traditional dialects and sing songs from long ago.
We will begin by learning a bit of the history of this region which encompasses the barrier islands located off the coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida. We will then explore through both sessions the music, which includes ring shouts, ring play party games, work songs, and spirituals.
Colin Beasley (Hammered Dulcimer) (USA)
Saturday, November 6th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (HD – Adv. Beginner/Intermediate)
Fundamentals, Rhythm, and Movement
This class is to help you take the next step towards being a better dulcimer player! Much of the class will focus on getting better at moving around the instrument comfortably; something that will allow you to better and more quickly grasp other workshop topics you might encounter. We will also talk about various hammering/sticking patterns and use some songs to demonstrate them. Playing position, posture, hammer technique, and various other fundamentals will also be briefly covered.
Sunday, November 7th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (HD – Intermediate/Advanced)
The Music and Rhythms of Brazil
Brazil has a rich culture that blossoms in their colourful music. This class will focus much on the music of Northeast Brazil (forró and baião), but will also look at the music of Southern Brazil (samba, bossa nova). In learning about these styles of music, you will learn many syncopated rhythms, various musical modes, new chords, and new feels that will open the door to a whole new musical realm. We will even learn bits of tunes to help put it all together.
Stephen Humphries (Hammered Dulcimer) (USA)
Saturday, November 6th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (HD – Intermediate/Advanced)
Arranging a tune for Solo Performance
When arranging a tune for solo performance, the task can seem daunting at times. This workshop will help you learn and practice a few easy but effective methods for arranging a melody and its accompaniment. If you wish to improve at filling in chords around a melody, incorporating harmonies, or simply using both hands more fully while playing, the exercises and tunes we tackle here will help you with these goals. Whether it’s a folk song, show tune, jazz standard, or even an original composition, we will learn a handful of ways to accompany a melody and create a nice solo arrangement on the hammered dulcimer. Handouts with exercises and tunes will be provided.
Sunday, November 7th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (HD – Adv. Beginner/Intermediate)
Finding & Exploring Chords on the Hammered Dulcimer
Come and learn some basic chord shapes to help you find useful musical patterns all over your instrument! This workshop will focus on identifying 3 types of chord shapes on the hammered dulcimer. As we explore exercises to practice these chord shapes, we will identify ways to use both major and minor chords to accompany, embellish, and perhaps even arrange simple tunes. Whether you wish to play better in a jam, with an ensemble, or on your own, these exercises will help you become more comfortable with using chords on the dulcimer. Handouts with exercises will be provided.
Friday Feature Workshop Descriptions
Session 1: 3:00 – 4:00 pm UK (11:00 – 12:00 am USA EDT)
Pete Bromwich & Jack Bethel – Workshop tour & Hammered Dulcimer Clinic
Pete (Dulcimer Heaven) and Jack both build hammered dulcimers. Pete will give us a remote tour of his workshop, showing us what is involved in making a dulcimer. Pete and Jack will then be able to answer your questions about dulcimer maintenance, tuning and purchasing.
Geoff Reeve-Black – Keeping Yourself and your Mountain Dulcimer Happy
Geoff has extensive experience as a player, tutor, collector, repairer, and vendor of mountain dulcimers. He will talk about everything to do with taking care of your dulcimer, from changing strings, changing tuning pegs, adding additional frets, choosing picks, finding MD tab music, fretboard oils … to what to look for when you want to change your dulcimer!
Session 2: 4:30 – 5:30 pm UK (12:30 – 1:30 pm USA EDT)
Jack Bethel – Glasgow tradition of the Hammered Dulcimer
Jack has lived in Glasgow and played hammered dulcimer there since the 1970s. Glasgow had a long tradition of hammered dulcimer playing, and Jack spent time in the 1980s getting to know some of the older traditional players. He will share his knowledge and experience with the tradition and history, including some of the typical musical instrument building styles and music.
Robin Clark – History and tradition of the Mountain Dulcimer
Robin will share his knowledge of the history of the mountain dulcimer, including old playing styles, with a focus on the Appalachian tradition. He also has a collection of antique instruments to share, and will play a few tunes for us to demonstrate the instruments and style.
Music for the workshops and zoom links 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, you can listen to the music and work though the tunes on your dulcimer before the class. However your instructors will not expect this.
You will need to be able to download the most up-to-date version of Zoom before attending the event. A laptop or iPad works best, but a smart phone is also fine. If you are unfamiliar with the technology and need help, you could join one of the regular Nonsuch Online Zoom sessions to try it out, or contact Hilary Davies or Sally Whytehead.
Please contact Hilary Davies if you need any further information or advice about the weekend.
There is a registration fee of £5 for the weekend, which gives you access to the Friday feature workshops, and to the online jam session. The cost for the other workshops is £25 per person per workshop, and the concert is £6 per person.
Payment is via PayPal, Debit or Credit card at time of booking through our online booking form below.