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[3 Feb 2012 | Comments Off | ]
Composing on the Hammered Dulcimer

by Susan Vinson Sherlock
So, you have been playing your instrument for a while now and you feel the urge to compose something original. But where do you start, and how do you finish? Truthfully, all you really need is your instrument and the desire to make music. But here is a list of hints to get started for the first time:
1) Choose a general starting place – 4/4, 3/4, 6/8, fast, slow, major, minor – in any combination. It could, and probably will, turn into something else once you get …

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[6 Oct 2010 | Comments Off | ]
Getting into Hammered Dulcimer: “Amazing Grace”

by Linda Thomas
Getting Into Hammered Dulcimer by Linda G. Thomas is a new Mel Bay book & teaching CD designed as a “crash course” for hammered dulcimer enthusiasts of ALL experience levels. The fourteen song titles, in standard notation, offer a variety of styles and are presented in the following format:

Basic Melody
Embellished/Variation, and
Back-up Chords/Accompaniment.

Additional topics include layout of the hammered dulcimer, tips for tuning, basic theory, major/relative minor scales, chords charts, and playing modulations.
 The companion CD is recorded to offer three tracks for each selection:

Basic melody
Embellished Melody/Variation, and
Back-up accompaniment.

Here is …

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[6 Aug 2010 | 2 Comments | ]
Middle Eastern Music for the Hammered Dulcimer

By Deborah Justice
Middle Eastern music can offer stimulating melodic and rhythmic spice to the usual dulcimer diet of reels, jigs, and waltzes.  I got into it myself back in the late 1990s when my dulcimer and I were recruited by a band of gypsies. Literally. (Okay, to clarify, this was a group of white Philadelphia-area suburbanite musicians working at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.) Forget academic arguments of authenticity – I was hooked on the sound itself. Once I wrapped my head around the exotic, challenging tunes, I couldn’t get enough …

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[6 Aug 2010 | Comments Off | ]
Unhurried Hammering


Ancient theater in Epidaurus, Greece where Gymnopedia festivals may have occurred.

Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedia Number One” 
This article presents the classical melody “Gymnopedia Number One” by Erik Satie. 
The name gymnopedia is that of an ancient Greek festival. Since Satie was French, the French pronunciation is zheem-no-ped-ee (with no real stress on any syllable). 
The Gymnopedia Suite was published in Paris in 1888. Erik Satie was a romantic style piano composer. 
“Gymnopedia Number One” is a gentle yet unconventional piece that defied the classical tradition. For instance, the first few bars consist of an alternating …