“Part of our raison d’etre is to disseminate information about the wealth of musical instruments available. The Creation of Music is where we as humans have it “all over” the Animal Kingdom.”
All albums produced by Oceans Merge Music contain a variety of unusual instruments all played by the multi-instrumentalist, Daniel Habermann. They are listed below:
Hammered Dulcimer is a folk instrument that is said to have originated in Biblical times in Persia. It is the instrument from which the modern Piano evolved. It is essentially a percussion instrument that has 46 strings arranged in 23 pairs across 2 Bridges and is played with small wooden mallets/hammers, hence the name. It is quite easy to play; it just takes time and patience, and a certain amount of humility; this enables the instrument to be your teacher; it has many secrets to tell.
Mountain Dulcimer or Appalachian Dulcimer
The Mountain Dulcimer or Appalachian Dulcimer, although it is also a dulcimer, is quite different in appearance to the Hammered Dulcimer, although it remarkably similar in many ways. It originated in its current form in the Appalachian Mountains, which is a mountain range that is located within the states of West Virginia and Tennessee in the USA. The area was and is the wellspring, the source of modern day country and folk music. John Denver sang of Shenandoah River and Blue Ridge Mountains, the Mountain, and the Stream that Flowed. Tennessee is on the western, West Virginia the east. I have a feeling that the instrument may well have been based upon an old Turkish Long Necked Gourd instrument, and the Americans utilised their ingenuity to adapt the instrument to suit the raw materials that they had available at the time. No one, but no one, could ever toss the Americans in terms of genius when it comes to making do. I always loved the fact that America was and is a Cultural Melting Pot, with the vast array of flavours and musical styles and influences that go with it. God Bless America for at least that much!
The Kantele belongs to the Zither Family and is a traditional folk instrument in Finland and Latvia. The olde Norsemen used to sit around their fires in winter, chanting their Runic Poetry to the accompaniment of these instruments, which are very wistful sounding and sit comfortably indeed with the dulcimers. They are very simple in their construction; the model that I have consists of 15 strings stretched over a slab of Norse Pine; there is not even a sound box, and yet the instrument has an almost other-worldly/mystical sound, very sweet indeed! I acquired mine online from a site called Melodie Soitin, rare here in Australia, but easily accessible.
The Autoharp is also a member of the Zither Family, and has been simplified to make them playable at the push of a single button. The instrument has 36 strings, (can be fun to tune-not). It is very prevalent in American Traditional Country Music; listen to any of the old Carter Family Recordings; Ma’ Maybelle played one, her daughter June Carter-Cash played one too. Joni Mitchell played one I am sure; David Crosby has autoharp on at least one of the tracks on “If Only I could Remember My Name”. It may have been Traction in the Rain. When I was a kid in early primary school, there was an autoharp in every class room.
We are happy to answer any questions about the instruments. Contact us HERE for more information.