I love this little tune. If any of you had the pleasure of seeing the movie "The Songcatcher" you'll recognize it (I hope) as the song sung by Iris DeMent.

I hope you like it!



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I did catch The Songcatcher not too long ago.  I was hoping to see a lot more instruments!!  But it was interesting anyway!

True enough Leslie, and the mountain dulciner was not realistic for that time frame, but, it fit somehow even if not historically authentic.

Good music though!  The soundtrack CD is good, different, not the usual soundtrack, but I listen to it often.


I have a small connection with "The Songcatcher" movie and the bowed psaltery.  A guy walked up to my table at a craft demo in Asheville, NC a few years back and asked what kind of instrument I was playing.  I filled him in on all the particulars and let him try it.  He did fairly well as I led him through a song.  He said he was playing a part in a movie being filmed around the Asheville area.  His part had him playing the fiddle in one scene.  He said he didn't know anything about one, but he could play it.  I asked him what he meant.  He said he could probably play the psaltery like that too, if I had some tape.  The film crew put a long piece of adhesive tape on the bow hair and he could fiddle up a storm without actually making a sound at all.  

When I finally saw the movie I could tell somebody had coached him on the movements.  He was very convincing.  His name is Muse Watson and played the part of Iris Dement's character's husband.  I was looking real close to see if I could see the tape :-)

That's really cool Rick. Don Pedi is in the movie, if you know him. He's a well known dulcimer player and that's what he does in the movie. I've met Don a couple times, he's a really nice guy and very talented.

I thought Muse Watson's playing looked a little odd but didn't pay much attention. Then I watched the special features and he talked about how he couldn't play at all.

Here's another link. David Mansfield did some of the original music in the movie. He wrote "When the Mountains Cry" for the movie and Terry Kirby and I LOVE that song and I've been playing it on the psaltery.

Well, David Mansfield is also the musician in the Sting video "A Winters Night Live from Durham Cathedral" playing the bowed psaltery, I have a post on this site regarding this video and some pictures. He is playing a Waynie compact which if you've seen one you can't mistake it.

I contacted David after seeing the video to ask him about the psaltery and how he began playing it. He very graciously responded and wished all of us luck with the psaltery!

If you'd like to see the pictures of David and the psaltery at the concert go to photos and search on Sting !

I remember seeing the pictures from the Sting concert.  I'll have to check out "When Mountains Cry"

I have jammed with Don Pedi a few times.  I love to watch him play.  I told him it looks like he has a few extra joints in his strumming arm, the way he slings it around.

If you have the movie or see it again, the song is during the funeral of the fellow who was shot by the jealous girlfriend.

Here's a link to the video on YouTube. It's actually sung by Aiden Quinn.

Don Pedi is quite a showman. I think they call his style of arm movement "egg beater" or something like that

Here's a link to the post I made about David Mansfield playing the bowed psaltery with Sting!



Here's the scence with Muse Watson that Rick Long referred to. That's Iris DeMent singins Pretty Saro!


Now you did it Donna, I'll be up half the night watching Songcatcher Clips on Youtube.  I just watched the one with Adien Quinn singing "When the Mountains Cry".

   Glad I could add to your hectic schedule 

is the sheet music posted for 'Pretty Saro' ? i can't find it.

the link to the sheet music is at the top in the original post, but here it is


It's a very simple version, I hope you have fun with it. I love it.


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