Shopping for Music...at Dollywood
August 3, 2009 at 3:23 AM
Tonight we make camp in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, after driving all the way across the country, reaching Washington, D.C., and turning south.
Much of our big family trip has been about theme parks because of my husband's website, ThemeParkInsider.com. So we've hit parks big and small: Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana; Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio; Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, and today, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Robert wrote up these visits very nicely on his site, but I wanted to share a few musical tidbits I picked up today at Dollywood, the park in the Smoky Mountains that features the talents of Dolly Parton, and also has touches of her hospitality (they set out little cups of water for all, free, all day).
Miss Lillian played a banjo and walked around the restaurant, trying to get people to find their "inner chicken" by crowing, flapping their arms, clucking, dancing etc. Always wanting to encourage live entertainers, I played along and said, "Cockadoodle doo!" for her (with feeling). She tossed me a fresh biscuit from her basket, in return.
Here, the lovely lady who ran the store showed me an interesting instrument that I'd not played before, the bowed psaltery, and within minutes she had told me and my daughter many interesting facts about the instrument, such as that it is mentioned in the Bible some 27 times. Then she provided us with a small, curved bow, some music, and let us have at it.
They had a decent selection of Mandolin music -- all Mel Bay, but Mel Bay has the corner on that market, doesn't he? Though one can find zillions of these books online, I haven't found altogether that many opportunities to leaf through these books, in the flesh, and there's no subsititute for that. I found "Texas Fiddle Favorites for Mandolin by Joe Carr" (marked down from $17.99 to $12.88) and snatched it up. It appears to have that balance of ease-to-play yet written in musical notation (as opposed to tab). We'll see!
From Anne Horvath
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 3:16 PM
Sorry to hear about your cold. I hope you feel better soon!
And, instead of "Now don't you be worryin'", try "Now don'tchy'all be worryin'"...
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 5:31 PM
That was fascinating, Laurie. I especially liked the store and the video of you playing the bowed psaltery. I've heard and tried bowed psalteries, and I can tell that the one you played sounded pretty good. I prefer instruments with a more resonant sound and good sustain, but those qualities are hard to get in such a small instrument with a small sound box. Congratulations on having self restraint and not buying the mandolin or any other instrument you saw there. It sounds like the kind of store I'd go nuts in. I'm looking forward to more of your blogs on your trip.
From Royce Faina
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 7:21 PM
I love Pigeon Forge! I have allot of extended family there and surrounding areas! My Family on my mother's side landed in the Smokey Mountains and the Appalatia from Germany, Scottland, Ireland; Scotts-Irish in 1720. If you bump into any Begley, Vicars or Millers... They're Kin.
I fail to recall exactly where, but in that area of Gattlinberg/Pigeon Forge there is a house called, "The Sears House" sometimes "The Miller House". It's a Bed & Breakfast that once belonged to my Great, Great Grandfather Albert Miller. He was a doctor. My mom would know where. you can email her at MsDolly463@aol.com. Dolly Davis is her name.
ps: You did real well with that Psaltry!
From Yixi Zhang
Posted on August 4, 2009 at 5:29 PM
Thanks for the story and the lovely bowed psaltery music. Lillian's apron is very cute!
From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 7, 2009 at 10:58 PM
The bowed psaltery was such an interesting instrument, with all open strings. There are people who can actually play it, too (I'm not pretending I can!), like this lady. She uses two bows!
From Kim Vawter
Posted on August 8, 2009 at 5:20 AM
My sister has been playing this instrument for a few years.It is very soft and haunting.She has lots of sheet music especially Christmas carols that we can play together. I play an octave higher or just the same as is written for her. It is wonderful to play music with my sister since we are both relatively new to our stringed instruments. I had never heard of this instrument before she took it up. Thanks for mentioning it here in Violinist.com
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Violinist.com Editor Laurie Niles went to Austin, Texas to cover the Menuhin Competition 2014, watching some of the world's top young violinists. Read her ongoing coverage.
Laurie Niles is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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