The Dulcimer World Congress is a charity registered in England and Wales number 1157100.
Our Primary Object is:-
“To advance, improve, develop and maintain public education in, and appreciation of, the art and science of music in all its aspects, and in particular as they relate to the worldwide dulcimer family of musical instruments, by any means the trustees see fit; including through the presentation of public concerts, recitals, workshops, lectures, festivals, conferences and exhibitions”.
We were formed in May 2014 and in 2015 we ran the International Dulcimer Congress in Malvern, Worcestershire. Since then we have supported some specific projects involving the dulcimer family of interests.
While most people haven’t heard about the Dulcimer family of instruments, they most certainly will have heard them played. From John Barry’s classic 1960’s film scores like The Ipcress Files to Michael Giacchino’s score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Howard Shore’s for the Lord of the Rings, the music behind David Attenborough’s Life of Plants and many more as well as countless radio plays, the evocative moods created by their distinctive sound have become favourites in the toolset of many composers for film, TV, radio and the concert hall over the last century or so.
This enigmatic family covers types of zither which are generally struck with hammers although variants that are plucked also exist. This instrument exists in many countries and in many variants throughout the world. Different solutions to the requirements of an adequate range of notes with good sound quality, size and weight of instrument and a layout that suits the music being performed on it have resulted in many different yet identifiable instruments.
Examples are the hammered dulcimer, cimbalom, hackbrett, yangqin, tsymbaly, khim, santoor, santouri.
We also broaden the definition to include the type of zither that has basic diatonic frets i.e. the mountain dulcimer and the European zithers from which they descend.
Study of the music, the design and the history of this family of instruments provide a focus to understand the music of different cultures throughout the world many of which are present in England and Wales. The diversity of the design and music for the instrument throughout the world provide a unique insight to these different musical cultures.
There is a continuing tradition of the instrument in the British Isles and this has spread to other English speaking countries such as America and Australia. The Far East (especially Chinese based cultures), India, the Middle East, Europe and especially Eastern Europe also have strong traditions in the instrument in varying forms. Immigrants from these countries are present in many English communities. As well as valuable activities in their own right, the effects of music appreciation, participation and training have health benefits and provide a lifelong interest making people better citizens. Learning from other cultures with a common musical interest promotes tolerance and understanding in our civic society. These outcomes contribute to a better educated, more cohesive and healthier community.