Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

Music I’d Like To Hear #105

Autoharp, fiddle, flute and trumpet. An unusual band!

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5 Comments

  1. Now THAT’S an autoharp. It is more in line with many of the Zimmerman originals. Your #38 is a typical Cymbalom as invented by Schunda in the l 1880’s. The instrument hasn’t changed all that much since the one pictured here was made. The range has been extended and the damping mechanism improved but it’s still much as Schunda envisioned it. Nice ensembles. So many of these old photos show Old Time bands that do not fit into the Galax rules (must have guitar fiddle and banjo).

    • Thanks for the info, Ken! I wondered if the mono autoharp was a Zimmerman or a Columbia. Interesting info on the Schunda cymbalom as well. As for Galax rules, I figure people who wanted to play played what they had to play.

      • Once you had records and radio, the effect was rather homogenizing. Not too many of the more distinctive bands got recorded, especially if they featured wind instruments along with stringed ones. the balance was much harder to achieve on a recording back in the 20’s and 30’s. I would have loved to hear a recording of that band you pictured with the horns, woodwinds and the autoharp with a thyroid condition.

        • That’s why I love Pat Conte’s “Secret Museum Of Mankind” reissues. Glimpses of music before the influence of radio, though the influence of colonialism was often already in place.

          • Pat is one amazing human being. The Secret Museum barely shows a glimpse of the depth of his 78 collection. If you ever get a chance to visit him, do it. Between these rersources and some of the wax cylinder recordings that are coming to light, we begin to get a feel for pre-electronic media music. Check out the recordings of Otto Malmberg from 1917. These are the earliest recordings I know of of music being played on a ducimer-like instrument. He is playing the Swedish humml. The photos of the session taken with the recordings make it easy to get a very good picture of this music.

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Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers