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 instruments. Most of our mountain dulcimer music is presented in both tablature and standard musical notation, making the music accessible to hammered dulcimer players and those who play other instruments.
Our October/November ’11 issue presents:
1. A beautifully written article, music, mountain dulcimer tablature, and sound file from Peter Ellertsen and Michael Thomas on a lovely, historic Swedish-American hymn that plays beautifully on the mountain dulcimer – “Children of the Heavenly Father” from Jenny Lind.
2. A mountain dulcimer arrangement I wrote in my 1981 Mel Bay book, Dulcimer Fiddle Tunes. It’s the traditional Irish hornpipe “Off to California.” It uses the increasingly popular DGd “reverse Ionian” tuning that allows you to play it in its standard key of G Major. The article includes some back-up chords for the tune in DGd. The sound file included is a play-along recording. First I play once through “Off to California” and then play the back-up chords so you can take the lead.
3. “Flop Eared Mule” is a popular old-time and bluegrass jamming tune, and it is presented in an arrangement from Jeanne Page’s Mel Bay book, Bluegrass on Hammered Dulcimer. First Jean has it in a simple arrangement, followed by a more ornate one.
4. The final article in this issue presents a hammered dulcimer arrangement of the Russian folk dance melody “Korobushka,” arranged by Peggy Carter from her Mel Bay book, Hammered Dulcimer Arrangements for Special Occasions.
Mel Bay Publications is the largest publisher of books for hammered and mountain dulcimers. You’ll find outstanding resources for playing techniques and many colorful music styles by visiting www.melbay.com. Many of these titles are now available as eBooks. For a complete listing of dulcimer eBooks: Click Here.
Be sure to check our DulcimerSessions.com “Back Issues” that start with 2003 articles on the rudiments of playing both instruments. Many provide samplings of Mel Bay dulcimer books. You’ll find about 146 free musical articles in all – courtesy of Mel Bay Publications!
I invite dulcimer players to submit articles to me for possible inclusion in future issues of Dulcimer Sessions. We offer a small honorarium for those articles. Requests for articles on new subjects are also welcomed.
Enjoy! See you in our December ’11/January ‘12 issue of DulcimerSessions.com.