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[3 Feb 2012 | One Comment | ]
“HOME-MIDDLE-OUTSIDE”: How to Accompany Music in Many Keys with the Mountain Dulcimer

by Ehukai Teves
Editor’s note:  At the 2011 Fiddlers Grove fiddle convention I attended a jam in their “jamming barn.” It’s known for the expert senior players who jam swing, country and other vocally-driven music. This is the territory in which a musician who joins the jam needs to be able to play in many keys. As a veteran dulcimer player I’m used to playing in different fiddle keys, but in this jam I found myself trying to play songs in the Keys of C, E and B minor that often …

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[2 Jun 2011 | Comments Off | ]
“Haste to the Wedding” An Irish Jig for Mountain Dulcimer

by Mark Nelson
 
“Haste to the Wedding” is a favorite traditional Irish dance and jamming tune. Here is Mark Nelson’s mountain dulcimer arrangement of it from the above-referenced book. You can purchase the book and its accompanying CD, or “e” version at MelBay.com

Listen to Mark Nelson play “Haste to the Wedding.” | Printable Version

About the Author
Multi-instrumentalist Mark Nelson has been active in the folk, Celtic and world music scene since the early 1970′s. Considered one of the nation’s premiere mountain dulcimer players-he won the National Championships in 1979-he is equally adept …

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[6 Oct 2010 | Comments Off | ]
Mountain Dulcimer: Those Sparkling Harmonics!

by Nina Zanetti
We all may have occasions where we want to put some “dazzle” into our playing. Harmonics can add sparkle to an arrangement and also can sometimes provide a handy way to negotiate a tricky passage.
What’s a harmonic?
The easy definition is: a “clear bell-like sound” produced by lightly stopping a string at ½ (or 1/3 or ¼) of its full length along the fretboard. Explaining how this happens requires some physics. Briefly, when you press a string lightly at certain frets, you effectively divide the string into some fraction …

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[9 Aug 2010 | 2 Comments | ]
“Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”

by Stephen Foster
arranged for Mountain Dulcimer by Shelley Stevens
The following arrangement is from MB96543BCD, Stephen Foster for Mountain Dulcimer, by Shelley Stevens. Often sung in the Key of F, Shelley has arranged it to the key of D and the familiar DAD mountain dulcimer tuning.
Listen to Shelley Stevens play “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair.”
Printable Version

About the Author
Shelley Stevens has been playing music for most of her life but for over 26 years has considered the mountain dulcimer to be her primary instrument. She has made it her life’s work …

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[9 Aug 2010 | Comments Off | ]
Traditional Ballad for Mountain Dulcimer: “Barbara Allen”

by Ralph Lee Smith with Madeline MacNeil
This ballad has origins in the British Isles. The version here was collected by Cecil Sharp and published in his 19312 book, English Folk-Songs from the Southern Appalachians. The arrangement here is from the singing of Loraine Wyman. The music of Lorraine, and Josephine McGill, is presented in Mel Bay Publications’ MB98423, Folk Songs of Old Kentucky – Two Song Catchers in the Kentucky Mountains 1914 and 1916, selected and arranged by Ralph Lee Smith with Madeline MacNeil. 
 Printable Version

He sent his servant to the …

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[1 Jun 2010 | 5 Comments | ]
Mountain Dulcimer Blues 101

By Bing Futch 
Music is a language much like English, German, French or Kacipo-Balesi. If you think of 12 chromatic notes like our 26 letters of the alphabet in the western English language – those same 26 letters (sometimes with diacritical markings) can order coffee in Spanish, beer in German and pastry in French!  The song form known as blues is based in and around certain musical notes, chord progressions and phrasing, combined with a structure that reflects its African origins. The only true way to emulate the blues is to …