Some ideas follow; first the technical side (I know these are hard to swallow, but they really can provide quick fixes; for how-to, see Striking Out and Winning!):
- Remember that tone is the result of 25% instrument and 75% player, instead of the other way around. What we put into our instruments (and how it’s input) will affect how much sustain adds to a piece, or gets in its way.
- Play from the arms out, not from the digits or wrists out. This not only helps the sound float (because it the player is free to move), it makes for healthy playing!
- I’ve known for years that the thumb’s placement on the hammer handle also contributes to the ultimate tone of the dulcimer. (Psssst: It’s time the rest of you caught on.) The more tension in the thumbs, the more ring (and brighter at that) we’ll get.