God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen Arranged for Mountain Dulcimer

The lyrics of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” author unknown, are reputed to date back to the 15thCentury, making it one of the oldest carols. It was first published in 1833, when it appeared in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern, a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. It is believed that this carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen, who earned additional money this way…

“Pipe on the Hob” an Irish Jig in A minor for Mountain Dulcimer

I “cut my dulcimer-playing teeth” playing in traditional Irish music sessiúns in New York City. The jigs were some of my favorite tunes, and the sound of the strummed mountain dulcimer reminded me of the ever-more-popular bouzoukis being played in well-known traditional Irish bands. There are a couple of other Irish tunes with this name, but this is the one I heard most. A “hob” is sometimes short for hobgoblin,…

“HOME-MIDDLE-OUTSIDE”: How to Accompany Music in Many Keys with the Mountain Dulcimer

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…