CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > Dulcimers in Scotland

The second generation - Jimmy Cooper

Of perhaps a slightly younger generation is Jimmy Cooper, whose story of dulcimer-playing in the 20s and 30s has already been told; he comes from Coatbridge, near Glasgow and at 69, he is now [1976] retired and living in Dorset with his wife, Sadie.

In the course of his life, he has driven buses, worked as an ambulance driver for a children's home, run a dance band - and been out of work. As well as the dulcimer, Jimmy also plays the accordion, and can get a tune out of a fiddle - he even plays the accordion bass with his left hand whilst playing a tune on the dulcimer with his right. For several years in the 1940's he was playing the xylophone with a dance band (photo).

His brother Davie is a dulcimer player, his nephew plays guitar, and his son, Peter, is a piano-tuner.

Since his younger days in the Depression around Glasgow he has been quite a philosopher, and a visit to the Coopers is always rewarded with sparkling conversation. He said one day that held heard it rumoured that they had "stopped giving harps in heaven and were giving dulcimers instead".

It is not clear whether or not he has perfect pitch, but he certainly knew that my instrument was in D as soon as I played it. He is rather proud that he has achieved what he has without being able to read music: "Och, I never had time to try".