Category Archives: chromatic mountain dulcimer
In this week’s lesson we’ll look at the DORIAN (mountain minor) MODE.
Thursday, Jan 16th 4-5 pm PST = 5-6 MST = 6-7 CST = 7-8 EST
Premium Members of Dulcimercrossing.com can access this lesson by logging in and clicking on the link at the LIVE EVENTS SCHEDULE and clicking on the Zoom meeting link.
If you missed the first session which was available to both Premium and Basic Members, you can click on the WATCH the VIDEO ARCHIVE link on your respective LIVE EVENTS Pages when logged in to the site.
There is still time to join the class and Leap Forward in your Musical Understanding in 2020!
This class begins on Thursday, Jan 2, 2020!
Take this quiz and get ready: https://owlmountainmusic.com/leap-forward/
by Steve Eulberg
Dulcimers as if Music Theory Matters
Music Theory as if Dulcimers Matter
Dulcimer Crossing will be offering something new for our Premium Members in 2020.
We’ll begin with a 4-week special course taught by Erin Mae and Steve Eulberg on Thursdays.
These will be hour-long, live, interactive sessions beginning at 4 pm PDT | 5 pm MDT | 6 pm CDT | 7 pm EDT on January 2, 16, 30 and February 13.
Then we’re lining up other teachers to offer a once-a-month live lessons after that group of lessons ends. This will be a special benefit for our Premium Members. (Sign up for Premium Membership now and you’ll get to have all the benefits immediately!)
Start planning now to attend.
You will find this to be an easy way to follow through on that New Year Commitment to practice more in a regular and scheduled way.
by Steve Eulberg
Dan Evans, English-dulcimer.com, recently explored this question from his own experience, and posed the question to (3) other professional musicians/scholars of his acquaintance and shared their responses and his conclusions in his blog.
Dan is both a fingerstyle guitarist and a fingerstyle mountain dulcimer player.
As you can see here, this is an important question because his instruments do not have a 6+ fret. The only way for him to play the “major” (Ionian Mode) scale is to play between 3-10 on the melody string. When he starts at “0” and plays to “7”, he’ll hear the Mixolydian Mode (which has a flatted 7th step.) Sometimes this note is called the “Old Joe Clark” note because that tune requires that interval and note.
As Dan concludes, the binary, either-or, categories of Major or Minor simply are NOT descriptive enough when talking about songs, scales, modes or music. We must have (or “get to have”) a broader frame of reference in order to experience the music we love to play in its delicious complexity and beauty.
Click on the links above to read Dan’s blog post and then let us know what YOU think.
by Linda Ratcliff
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.