So yesterday the new Dulcimer Players News arrived. I opened up the envelope and began flipping through the magazine, and almost fell off my chair. An article jumped right out at me entitled, "Remembering the music of Dallas Cline" by Thomasina Levy.
So, why the surprise? Before you continue to read, let me say that I never heard of Dallas Cline until last night.
As I explained in the last post, I'm transcribing more on the Pachelbel Canon in D lesson David taught in his 1991 workshop, and here's an excerpt about a book he recommended:
David talks to his students: And there is a book: the complete dulcimer tab to the Canon in D. It’s got all the sheet music, and tablature for each line, there’s forty … what is it? There’s forty-two lines or something, and it’s the tab for that. A woman named Dallas Cline up at Folkcraft Instruments…. And it’s real neat; what she does is she cuts it up, and everybody picks a line out of a hat (Ss exclaim, How neat!) and you get your line and you learn that, and then, at the end of the day, you know, everybody gets together and plays just that one line. It is gorgeous (S: Is it forty-two separate and different things people are doing?) Yes. (S: But it’s only one line long, right?) But it’s only one line long. (S: And you just keep repeating it.) (S: Wouldn’t it sound like [can’t hear second part of her question.])
Well, it’s such an easy tune; is just, the whole tune is just: (David picks out the descending melody line to demonstrate.) That’s one of the lines; (D then plays the next phrase.) That’s just one of the lines, and that’s, that goes through, that’s the arco* bass line. That goes from the beginning all the way through; never changes. Then nearly everything else … It is just the D scale; that’s all it is. And it’s the best piece I’ve ever seen for playing along with … uh, and I’m sure Pachelbel didn’t just, I don’t think he had this vision of this Canon. I think he just noodled around with that scale. And would write down whatever he liked. Because even if you don’t know the song, or whatever, you’ll play really interesting parts to it, and a lot of the classical people are doing that now. They’re not playing the written lines; they’re kind of jamming in there, and it works just fine. But it is on a lot of different recordings. And what I did was try to figure out the chord structure of it. And it ended up just being some real simple D scale chords that give the impression--that there is more going on--to play it solo. And, but, this, the Canon in D book is highly recommended. It’s like five dollars, and its got the complete score, just in notation for any instrument, and then its got four or five pages of all the lines. The dulcimer tab in D-A-D for all the lines. And that’s Folkcraft Music out of Winstead, Connecticut. And it’s an excellent book. In fact, I tried to remember to bring that when I came here, and I didn’t toss it in. But it’s an excellent book; it’ll give you some real basic ideas about … it’s all scale exercises … it is a scale exercise. And it happens to sound real good. And the records have … one thing I’ve noticed is that if you put on a record of the Canon in D and play along with it with the dulcimer, it sounds even better. (Everyone laughs.) They should have had one back then! (Ss talk over each other, joking that, according to D, everything sounds better on the dulcimer.)
*From the Italian, col arco, with the bow. Source: https://dictionary.onmusic.org/terms/818-col_arco. Retrieved 8 February 2023.
Alright, my rational mind tells me that this is just a coincidence, but, I can't help but think about all this kind of good-spooky stuff, the coincidences after coincidences after coincidences, that have happened so much with this David Schnaufer project that I wonder about it. A lot.
When I listened to the first pass of the above section, I thought he said "Alice Klein." I've learned to look up everything he recommends because his endorsement is good enough for me. Yet, no sign of that book or that name came up on a Google search. I listened again, this time with the headphones, and did the next search for "Dallas Klein"; nothing. So I tried "Cline", and voila, her name and a little bit about her popped up in the Dulcimer Jambalaya Blog; you can read about her right below the St. Patrick's Day and soda bread recipe posts. The post mentions several of her books, and then, that she had passed away in 2017 at age 90. Dallas sounds like she was a wonderful woman who contributed a great deal to the folk music and dulcimer communities as well as to our culture at large in many, many ways. I'm not surprised, therefore, that David knew about her, and maybe even knew her.
Intrigued after David's enthusiastic recommendation I started to search for her book; I couldn't find the Canon in D book anywhere; Amazon has it listed as "unavailable", and there was nothing listed on Ebay or the usual dulcimer sources I check. Feeling that little pinch of frustration; I wanted to see the book that he and his students were so enthusiastic about, but I gave up; I figured it was now out of print.
Well, guess what? It's not. According to the Dulcimer Players News article about Dallas that I just read, her daughter Marnie Greenbie has it for sale. If you are as intrigued as I was by David's recommendation, send her a note about it to MGreenbie@q.com. And if you don't subscribe to Dulcimer Players News, now is a good time. It is a treasure trove for dulcimer players, and this current February issue includes two of Dallas's arrangements: Wind Through the Olive Trees, and The Road to Lisdoonvarna. Although Dallas has passed, she stills leaves us gifts.
So I ask you: was this just another coincidence? That last night I heard David raving about Dallas's book, and today, I see an article about her in DPN?