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The Power of Resonance

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

Three notes I want to tell you about: one came the other day from someone whom has become dear to me through this project; she writes: It is mysterious that you were drawn to this project and felt such a connection to David without meeting him, but such is the power of resonance.

Another I received from Bob Force almost exactly a year ago in January of 2021; among other things he wrote: We talked about— you and I— the convergence of ideas and actions when the time was right. The serendipity of the collective unconcious— or perhaps better, the unrecognized concious. Carol Palmer, the illustrator of [In Search of the Wild Dulcimer], just reached out to me today by email after 47 years of no contact. And there you have it. YOU are stirring a deep cauldron. I think Bob meant that some kind of resonance was going on there.

And then there's an email I got from Rick today: Cyndi Lauper, of all people, stumbled into my Instagram feed this morning so I scrolled through her site. This is for you as only Cyndi Lauper can do it….even now. I wish I’d found it before Christmas for you. It’s so cool and even has a bandmate playing what appears to be an octave mandolin/bouzouki, instruments that I used to make as well. Enjoy!

(Cyndi plays the mountain dulcimer in the video, and makes an appearance in Pluck during David's Nashville years.)

An overarching theme for the book revealed itself about half way through the writing is resonance, a word that comes from Latin and means "resound". Its simplest explanation: resonance occurs when one object vibrating at its natural frequency forces a second object into a sympathetic vibrational motion. Resonance underlies the expression, "You and I are on the same wavelength!" Resonance occurs everywhere in nature and in the sciences: in physics (Two pendulum clocks in resonance synchronize themselves), in chemistry, and in mechanics (units of soldiers marching across a bridge eventually force the bridge to swing in the same tempo as their marching feet.) And, of course, music is not music without resonance.

I've often wondered myself why I felt so drawn to write about a person whom I knew almost nothing about and never met. A talk with my husband at breakfast today gave me the answer. We weren't talking about David; we were talking about The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman, a book my husband recommended.

It's a dandy: well-written and thought provoking, it explains complex topics like string theory, dark matter and the concept of the multiverse in ways that even I, a non-science person, can understand. Anyway, we were talking about the author's description of a salon he attends at MIT along with an intriguing mix of scientists and humanities people involved in literature and theater. They meet (or met) regularly to, well, just discuss whatever was on their minds, and, every time they met, within fifteen minutes or so they were all exploring interesting topics together, usually raising more questions than answers as they scratched their collective itch to share with each other their wonder and curiosity about the world. (That salon sounds like one of my ideas of a great time.)

While we were talking about the book, it suddenly dawned on me that that wonder, that curiosity is what attracted me to wanting to learn more about David Schnaufer. I only detected vague, suggested hints of it from the few people in our dulcimer club who knew him personally; they were left with a sense of wonder about him. But it was enough to grab my attention. The more I researched, the more I learned that curiosity and wonder were hallmarks of his personality. I've sprinkled throughout Pluck examples of his wonder and curiosity that his many friends shared with me from the time he was a child, all the way to his years in Nashville. I love that about him. It resonates. His mind never hardened with age to become impervious to new questions and new ideas.

Photos L to R top: David age two, five and as a sophomore in high school courtesy of Eric Schnaufer. Bottom Row, L to R: David and Norman in 1971 courtesy of Norman Jordan; David and Jan Pulsford. For Pluck, Jan described David's sense of curiosity and wonder as she introduced him to the emerging internet's possibilities for musicians and tech as one more tool for his creative arsenal.

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