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…

Mountain Dulcimer: Those Sparkling Harmonics!

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…

Interview with Jerry Rockwell, Mountain Dulcimer Player & Builder

I admire Jerry Rockwell’s mountain dulcimer playing. He’s got a generosity of spirit that manifests itself both in his music, and in the playing of other players he has taught and influenced. I’m one of them, and some others who have benefited this way from knowing Jerry are Steven K. Smith, Andy Beyer, Stephen Seifert, Bing Futch, and Molly McCormack. Jerry’s true to the music, and that was demonstrated when…

Welcome to the August/September 2010 Issue of DulcimerSessions®!

Hammered and mountain dulcimers are different instruments with different playing techniques, but they have a lot of music in common, and many people play both. To make mountain dulcimer music accessible to hammered dulcimer players we usually include with mountain dulcimer tablature the accompaniment chord letters and either notation or sound files. Be sure to check our 40 “Back Issues” that start with 2003 articles on the rudiments of playing…

Welcome to the October / November 2010 Issue of DulcimerSessions®!

Hammered and mountain dulcimers are different instruments with different playing techniques, but they have a lot of music in common, and many people play both. To make mountain dulcimer music accessible to hammered dulcimer players, we usually include with mountain dulcimer tablature the notation and/or sound files and chord letters. Be sure to check our “Back Issues” that start with 2003 articles on the rudiments of playing both instruments. You’ll…

Welcome to the December ‘10/January ’11 Issue of DulcimerSessions®!

by Lois Hornbostel We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season! Hammered and mountain dulcimers are different instruments with different playing techniques, but they have a lot of music in common, and many people play both. To make mountain dulcimer music accessible to hammered dulcimer players, we usually include with mountain dulcimer tablature the notation and/or sound files and chord letters. Be sure to check our “Back Issues” that…

Welcome to the February/March ’11 Issue of DulcimerSessions®!

By Lois Hornbostel Hammered and mountain dulcimers are different instruments with different playing techniques, but they have a lot of music in common, and many people play both. In our February/March issue we would like to present some music in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  This issue’s music is certainly played in the Irish tradition, but also throughout the British Isles and around the world. We hope you enjoy these…

Welcome to the April/May ’11 Issue of DulcimerSessions®!

Hammered and mountain dulcimers are different instruments with different playing techniques, but they have a lot of music in common, and many people play both. Our April/May issue contains: For Mountain Dulcimer (with notation and chord letters for hammered dulcimer):   An Interview with Jerry Rockwell, Mountain Dulcimer Player & Builder. This article contains three videos of music and playing techniques by Jerry. In the first you’ll hear him play…