Dulcimers come in two versions. The so-called “mountain dulcimer” looks like a skinny fiddle with 3 to 6 strings, sits across the player’s lap, and is plucked with the fingers. The other consists of a box frame with 40-120 strings; because its sound is produced by hitting the strings with small mallets, it is often called the “hammered dulcimer.” Both kinds were late arrivals to Appalachia, brought by European immigrants. They were used to provide music for ballads, religious songs, and dances. More recently they were popularized by Jean Ritchie and John McCutcheon during the nationwide revival of traditional folk music in the 1960s and 70s. The mountain dulcimer in particular has become a symbol of Appalachian music.
Cecil Sharp In 1915 Cecil Sharp, an important collector of traditional English ballads, was informed that many Appalachian singers were singing old English songs ...
Old Time Music In Appalachia, Old-Time Music refers to a variety of traditional music styles -- ballads, folk songs, fiddle and banjo tunes, sacred songs, and even some popular songs recorded in the […]
Bascom Lamar Lunsford One voice seized me more than the rest. Over a simply picked banjo, the voice sang mournfully about a mole in the ground. Elsewhere, the same voice preached, over that same simple banjo, […]
The Plott Hound is an agile, muscular dog with a short, often brindle colored coat and historic mountain heritage. Of the 7 breeds of coonhounds recognized by the United Kennel Club, […]
Shape notes were invented in the late 18th century to simplify teaching people to sight-read unaccompanied sacred musical scores. They were called shape notes because, […]
Have you ever seen a Carolina Lily? Did you know it is North Carolina’s official state wildflower? But take care to avoid mistaking it for [...]
About The Digital Heritage Project
DigitalHeritage.org includes essays, video interviews, and other materials created by the students of Western Carolina University. It also includes regional lesson plans created by teachers participating in the Adventure of the American Mind project sponsored by the Library of Congress. Radio spots created by WCU faculty and students may be heard on stations WKSF-FM, WMXF-AM, WPEK-AM, WWCU-FM, and WWNC-AM. A print version is available each month in the Laurel of Asheville.
Tonya Carroll (B.A., 2007 M.A., 2009) with Bruce Frazier (Carol Grotnes Belk Endowed Professor in Commercial & Electronic Music) in the recording studio.