In the Folkcraft Shop - August 12, 2022
Good Morning, Y'all
This week's "In the Shop" segment is brought to you from the Folkcraft showroom (shop!), not the wood shop. It might seem "commercial," but trust me, it isn't.
A couple of months ago, a new book of dulcimer music hit the market. Steve Eulberg's "FIRST 50 SONGS
What makes this book special is that it contains a slew of contemporary, copyright-protected songs that are arranged for mountain dulcimer. While I love the old jam tunes, I know a lot of players found the public-domain repertoire to be limiting, and many of you yearned for something more modern.
This book has brought out a lot of discussions about the future of dulcimer playing. Discussions about repertoire, mostly.
Many of you know Sam Edelston (if you don't, look him up on YouTube). Sam is famous for performing popular repertoire on the mountain dulcimer. He's played in big New York City clubs, and has millions of views on YouTube. But he can't legally (without a lot of jumping through hoops with the various rights owners) publish a book of his arrangements because of copyright protections for the songwriters.
The same restrictions apply to all of our other favorite artists, which is why you don't see books of contemporary arrangements for the dulcimer. It is expensive to secure the licensing, and the limited return on a book of mountain dulcimer arrangements would likely lead to a loss for the arranger/publisher. So we see lots of books with amazing arrangements of traditional tunes, but nearly nothing with modern songs.
The world's largest publisher of sheet music, Hal Leonard, decided to release a book of modern songs for mountain dulcimer. And they hired Steve Eulberg (great choice, Hal Leonard!) to do the arrangements. A LOT of clubs across the country have picked up on this songbook, and have added it to their weekly/monthly jams. I think it is great, and the new songs will add variety to all of our jams.
Now the discussion questions I mentioned earlier...
Will this new repertoire dilute the traditional aspects of mountain dulcimer playing? Or will the new repertoire add to the appeal, and make the dulcimer more attractive to more players? Let me know your thoughts, and we'll include highlights of your responses in next week's newsletter!
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