CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > Dulcimers in the Midlands & the North

Bill Fell - social and musical background

Although accomplished and confident, Bill always says that he does not play as well as "the old chap", his father, who apparently did not know that his son, aged 14, was playing his instrument and "would have gone balmy if he'd found out".


He seems to have become reconciled to the idea later, however, for this photo shows the father illuminating a subtlety to the son, for the benefit of the camera man and readers of the Birmingham Post & Mail in 1951, when Bill was 35 or 36; he was born in 1915.

Bill is an electrician by trade, and his training has been well-adapted to his dulcimer-building activities.

He "doesn't read music much", and before one of my early visits he wrote

"... but I really must make an effort to get my Breve's and Hemi Demi Semi Quavers sorted out ... "

to which end he even recently started taking piano lessons again. An insight into his delightfully wry character may be gained from the following extract, from one of his more recent letters to me:

" ... I wrote some time ago ... for one of your Cassette tapes, and hey presto, the lad's on his travels again, no doubt; anyway, if I get no reply to this one, I'll wait till I go to the East Coast and put the next letter in a bottle and bung it in the sea .. "