A performing, touring acoustic musician, Steve co-owns DulcimerCrossing.com and teaches on that site. He also teaches guitar and baritone ukelele at [my]talentforge.com and several styles and levels of guitar at JamPlay.com.
Across many Christian worship traditions, tunes from Welsh composers are favorites. The Ash Grove comes to mind, but from my survey, when researching and writing my book Dulcimer-Friendly Worship, Vol 1: the season of Advent, the tune that won the popularity contest of being the setting for so many hymns in so many ecumenical traditions is HYRFRYDOL by Rowland Prichard.
We are excited that our instructor, Karen Mueller, has provided us with both a strummed AND a fingerpicked lesson for our students. Watch as she introduces this tune and the lesson series:
This tune also appears on Steve’s Hark, the Glad Sound! recording which you can listen to here. (The 2nd tune in the Medley on track #12)
Members of DulcimerCrossing.com get access to ALL of the lessons ALL of the time!
If you want to play your Appalachian mountain dulcimer in the old traditional style, you will use a noter on the melody string(s), leaving the other 2 strings open to create a drone sound. We have developed several lessons that use a “noter,” so we decided to add a new separate category for these at Dulcimer Crossing: Traditional Noter Style.
If you have never used a noter, you should start with our introduction to the Traditional Noter Style here. In this series of 14 videos, Steve introduces the traditional noter/drone style of playing, shows us some of the tools (noters) that he uses, and explains how to use the noter with different tunings.
Here is the complete list of the lessons lessons we offer that use a noter.
We are pleased to welcome Karen Mueller to the faculty of DulcimerCrossing. Enshrined in the International Autoharp Hall of Fame, she is also an awarded and well-respected performer and teacher of the mountain dulcimer. Watch the video she made to introduce herself to our students.
Are you bored of being bored, because being bored is BORING?
Say NO To Boring
Have you ever been to a jam session and wondered how many times they’re going to repeat the same tune?
Have you ever gone to the nursing home to share your music, and watched your audience nodding off to sleep – bored by your performance?
Just as “gorgeous” is the ultimate compliment for a woman, “boring” is the most dreaded description of a performance a musician can hear.
So let’s say “NO” to boring, and spice up our playing with variations and ornamentations.
When playing a tune, try to think outside the box to create something that’s all yours and totally fresh. As a matter of fact, why don’t you just throw away the box? Keep your audience (and yourself) on their toes. If you’re playing through the tune three times, don’t feed them the same arrangement each time.
Here’s some suggestions on how to do this.
Play the melody an octave higher.
Play the melody an octave lower.
Change up the rhythm. Add syncopation.
For one verse, change the melody to a minor key if it was written in a major key. Or turn the minor key melody into a major key melody.
Add chords, instead of just playing the melody line alone.
Add a drone. On the hammered dulcimer, this can be a high octave drone, a low octave drone, or a 5th drone.
Play chords as arpeggios, especially where there is a half or whole note.
Listen to fiddlers playing the tune on YouTube. Note how they go over-under-and around the melody line. See if you can duplicate that sound.
If you know it, use it. Take a trick you learned for another tune and apply it to the song you’re arranging.
Challenge yourself to turn a well-known song into something completely different that represents your own musical influences and tastes better. At Dulcimer Crossing, we offer two lessons for our hammered dulcimer players on how to arrange and embellish a tune.
Keep in mind, if you’re playing with others … play WITH the others. Don’t use any variations you created that might clash with what the group is doing. Save those ideas for when you’re playing solo.
And here’s one final piece of advice. Arranging should be fun, so don’t get bogged down with trying to make your arrangement too difficult. Stretch your abilities so you will grow technically, but also know your limits and play within them.
You may be one of our YouTube channel subscribers and already know about this. But Steve has been uploading on YouTube the first video for every lesson we offer at Dulcimer Crossing. If you haven’t already subscribed to our YouTube channel … you should. That way you’ll receive a notice every time we have a new lesson to offer. (You’ll also receive a notice when I upload animations … and I only upload animations when I’m preparing a new lesson.)
Here are links to some of the first lessons Steve’s uploaded so far.