Check out the new
book: Winter Variations

Nina Zanetti

Now you can take an "online" lesson in fingerpicking with Nina, at

Listen to Nina

Rorate - Suo Gân

Londonderry Air

Castle of Dromore

Abide With Me




Nina is the most expressive dulcimer player I have ever heard.  Many play from the heart.  Nina plays her soul.
Susan Trump

Nina Zanetti

Welcome to Nina's Web Site

Nina Zanetti is the 2008 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion. She comes to the mountain dulcimer from a diverse musical background, including choral music, violin, viola, piano, viola da gamba (a bowed renaissance instrument ), and shape note singing. She plays dulcimer regularly at churches, historic sites, and community events and has taught workshops at dulcimer festivals throughout the country, including Western Carolina University, John C. Campbell Folk School, and Kentucky Music Week. Since 2020, she also enjoys teaching online for virtual dulcimer festivals such as Quarantunes and the Northern Georgia Foothills online festival.

Nina enjoys bringing her diverse musical interests to the world of mountain dulcimer. Her classical music background informs her arranging, her expressive phrasing, and her love of ensemble music. She is especially fond of the “softer side of dulcimer,” She is especially fond of the “softer side of dulcimer”, a style that is reflected in her books of solo fingerstyle arrangements, such as The Softer Side of Dulcimer and Celtic Variations. She has a strong interest in American folk hymns, many of which appear in her tablature book Glories Immortal: A Collection of Hymns from America’s Past and in a book of Shaker music (co-authored with Bill Collins), The Humble Heart. Her other musical love is early music, featured in her tablature book, Heart’s Ease. Nina has also co-authored four books of duet arrangements (the Tunes for Two or More series with Beth Lassi.) Nina is featured on Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Play Music for Christmas (CD) and has recorded The Sum of the Parts, a CD of solos and duets with Bill Collins, as well as a solo CD, Beside Still Waters. Her newest CD, Winter’s Light and its companion book, Winter Variations, represent a gentle celebration of the quiet joys and consolations of the winter season.

In recent years, Nina has studied the Alexander Technique, especially as it applies to musicians. This method of bringing ease to musical endeavors now informs her own playing and performing, and she enjoys sharing concepts from that approach with students in her dulcimer workshops.

In her own words, Nina tells how she discovered the dulcimer:

One day, during a rather challenging time in my life, I was looking for a diversion and happened to see a poster advertising a local dulcimer festival. I went to the festival, brought home a dulcimer, and quickly got “hooked” on the gentle sweetness of the instrument and the warmth of the dulcimer community. Since then, playing dulcimer has been a wonderful adventure, providing solace, joy, fellowship… and a lot of fun!

I am especially fond of “the softer side” of dulcimer. I love the slow Celtic airs and quiet, meditative hymns; they bring a sense of serenity and peace. My favorite way of playing dulcimer is to fingerpick with bare fingers: the feel of the strings seems to draw me “into” the instrument and the music and brings me to a place of quiet tranquility.

Because I discovered mountain dulcimer relatively late in life, I have been able to bring a lifetime of other musical experiences to the way I approach this instrument. Before discovering dulcimer, my main musical interest was in the “classical” realm: everything from early music to Bach cantatas to Brahms symphonies. I have sung in choirs, played piano in pit orchestras, and continue to play violin and viola in string quartets and community orchestras. Most recently, my love of Renaissance music inspired me to take up the challenge of learning a new instrument, viola da gamba, and discovering the joy of consort music. All these experiences contribute to how I play, arrange for, and teach mountain dulcimer. In addition, some dulcimer players who had an early influence on my playing include: Susan Trump, with whom I had the pleasure of taking lessons; Bill Collins, who generously shared arrangements and musical tips during my first few years of playing; Beth Lassi, who inspired me to learn harmony writing; and Linda Brockinton, who taught me a gentle style of fingerpicking. My music is also inspired by the beautiful playing of El McMeen, guitarist, and the glorious harmonies of choral groups such as Chanticleer.

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