vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
Yesterday I went to an SCA event and I had a wonderful time among people I didn't know very well, with three exceptions, but who were very kind to me. I came home inspired and desiring to do more in the SCA, until I looked at the calendar and realized I'm already doing everything my schedule allows.

I brought Isabella, my smallest dulcimer, because I wasn't performing to work, but socially, and her range fits the 16th century dulcimer while having the additional benefit of being incredibly portable. The larger dulcimers work better professionally, because they have a bigger sound and the range to show off my technique, but I've been having a lot of fun working within renaissance period constraints.

One song that I'm thrilled worked on Isabella, with only slight adjustment, is Vincenzo Galilei's Saltarello; it's a favorite piece among classical guitarists and was one of the first tunes I adapted from lute to dulcimer. Vincenzo Galilei was an influential composer but eclipsed by his son Galileo: an inventor of opera loses out when his son helps to invent science. (Have a listen:

It was a very good day, although I left a little early because I was getting worn down socially. It was my first public performance with Isabella and I'm happy to report the experiment was successful. She'll be coming to more SCA events!

My Ladies

Nov. 7th, 2014 08:29 am
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
In 2000 I bought my first dulcimer (Dusty Strings Apprentice), and in 2004 it fell in a parking lot so I replaced it. That replacement (Dusty Strings Prelude) was warped when I lingered to finish a song in a 2005 downpour, and I upgraded to a larger size (Dusty Strings D35). That same year I picked up a tiny travel dulcimer (by TK O'Brien's) and took it to Europe on my first trip there, but found its small range limiting and didn't do much with it aside from loaning it out occasionally.

In 2012 I upgraded again (Dusty Strings D550), but I didn't retire my old concert instrument. The older dulcimer was better suited to air travel with its slightly smaller size and 20 fewer strings, so it has remained a touring instrument. The problem was that I now needed a way to distinguish between them, and so for the first time in my career I named instruments.

The older dulcimer was obvious: in Italian naming conventions the first daughter is named after the father's mother, and so Maria it was. My newer dulcimer I named for her mother, Antonietta (yes, the younger dulcimer is named for the older person. I'm using a guideline, not a rule). And all was well.

Except that I've started playing that little travel dulcimer again: its limited range nicely approximates an instrument from the Middle Ages and I've been using it for that repertoire. So I needed another name.

I decided on Isabella, for my aunt and godmother, and "Bellina" as a nickname since she's so tiny.
vinceconaway: (Default)
Whew, I am completely exhausted. Or, as the guy who talked himself out of
a ticket on the train (he hadn't validated) told the conductor, "stanco
come cane" (tired as a dog).

It's been an interesting trip so far! US Airways seems to have misplaced
the stand for my dulcimer, so after I take a nap (I know it's bad for jet
lag but I'm too tired to care) I'm going to see if I can find a keyboard
stand that will be good enough for now. Longer term I might have my
parents mail me my spare stand, but I'm really hoping that I get a call
from the airline tonight saying "whoops". Fingers crossed...

I have to admit that while it's a bit frustrating, everything else went so
smoothly that I've got no real complaints. The hotel I'm in is quite
nice, though a bit out of the way, and the bed is calling my name. I've
been doing most of my navigating through various airport beaurocracies in
Italian, and while I'm by no means elegant I seem to be getting by better
than I expected. To sum up, I'm here, I'm happy, and I'm ready to go!

After a nap, that is.

August 2017

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