If You Don't Somebody Else Will

Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
3 years ago
840 posts
Thanks so much for the kind comments, friends! My favorite dulcimer players in the whole world can be found right here at FOTMD and y'all are among them! :)

Since noter play is all I can do, this little observation may be off- base. . . Yet, here goes! :)
It seems that some styles of dulcimer play can be approached more on a note- by- note basis (with both the right and left hands) while tunes played with a noter are more easily approached by working with phrases, series of notes. And a noter player has to know a tune well enough in order to decide how to create good phrases-- when to strum/not strum and how to use slides-- to best emphasize the tune. Sometimes, I'll record myself and notice I haven't strummed enough in a passage and expected too much from the sounds got from the slides to convey the melody. There are also times I strum too much and don't use slides to the best effect. And sometimes I need to let there be space-- not a rest, necessarily but a little breathing room. . .

As Randy indicated, some slides are harder to get clear tone out of than others. I've been working on Fisher's Hornpipe this summer and the A part is hard for me to play cleanly consistently to phrase it just the way I want to. There are plenty of challenges, fun challenges, in sliding a stick along a string to help make sounds!

PS- I, obviously, don't know correct musical terms to explain things musical. So, if what I wrote above makes half sense or no sense at all, please feel free to keep on scrolling. :)


--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Randy Adams
@randy-adams
3 years ago
112 posts

If you please I'd be more specific? There are 2 noter movements in particular I avoided for a while. They are eighth notes played with a quick flick of the wrist....& there ain't no such thing as a slow flick right?....you either flick it or you don't! That 7-8-7 and its reverse cousin and more difficult 4-3-4 are tough to get to sound clear. Of course the higher up the fretboard these movements are used the easier it gets b/c the frets are closer together. Use the force!

BTW I hear Robin using these noter movements in her playing.

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john p
@john-p
3 years ago
213 posts

'Oh you know all the notes, and you sing all the words, but you never quite learn the song ... ' The Hedgehog Song

Know the feeling well Randy. Someone asked me to play 'The Siege of Delhi' the other week, no trouble working out the notes, no trouble working out the rhythm, but fitting the two together is a nightmare. Easy enough to play slow*** but as soon as you try and get up to speed your arm's swinging about like a demented pendulum and any fine control goes out the window.
In the end you just find yourself 'catching' it one day and then wonder why it was ever a bother in the first place Smile.gif

*** It does seem fashionable to play some of these old tunes that commemorate massacres as laments instead of quick marches nowadays though.

Val Hughes
@val-hughes
3 years ago
22 posts

Robin beautiful playing, hard to pick a favourite from the play list, I do like B in the L. I love them all.

Randy Adams
@randy-adams
3 years ago
112 posts

"It's a timing thing that I can't think about too much...."

Robin...this is so true with my noter playing too. Like...if I'm flatpicking a tune and have trouble with a passage I can repeat, repeat the troublesome measure or two at a slower tempo and eventually my fingers can figure it out. But with noter playing I find there are certain techniques that I can only get going by playing them up to speed....slowing them down doesn't help so much....hard to explain.

"Use the force Luke!"

Once I started thinking about going with the force I could play passages I once avoided with the noter. Sometimes I get 'em and sometimes I don't but the more I play the better I can navigate the tricky techniques by just going for it and trusting the force......: )....f'real....

phil
@phil
3 years ago
149 posts

gee just when I think i have mad progress along comes this43.gif17.gifGrin.gif honestly I loved it.41.gif41.gif41.gif113.gif

Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
3 years ago
840 posts
Steph, I can't take any credit for Billy since it's a trad tune. :)Randy's fantastic flat- picked version is a YouTube favorite of some players here in Ohio who are familiar with the tune. They know the skill required to do what Randy did with the piece!The tricky part for me of playing Billy with a noter is that run up the fretboard in the first section of the A part. I can only get it to sound half decent about half the time. ;) It's a timing thing that I can't think about too much or rush too much. Too much thinking is bad for my health, anyway. Haha!

Geekling said:

That couldn't have been easy to play--I know I certainly couldn't! I'm particularly partial to Ridin' the Zigzag and Wobble Railroad.68.gifIt's both fun and traditional-sounding, and it has a great title!113.gifGrin.gif




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
3 years ago
840 posts
Randy, you are the first and, I'm thinking, the only person I ever heard play Billy in the Lowground on MD. Since you flat- picked it and it's got lots of notes (Mark flat- picks it on guitar) I thought it was a tune I could never manage on dulcimer. Once I got rid of that droning fifth (by going with the CcG tuning), it worked for me. I played this with a fairly stiff quill-- it sounds different yet with a more flexible quill or one of my big homemade plastic picks.

Y'all are so nice to take the time to listen and comment, friends. I'm going to even risk seeming sappy and let y'all know that I have great affection for my music friends, many of whom I've never met in- person.


--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
3 years ago
859 posts

Yeah, I agree about how smooth and effortless Robin's playing appears. Her superior technique makes even difficult songs seem approachable.

My favorite is still Circleville. Smile.gif




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
John Henry
@john-henry
3 years ago
331 posts

Duly noted Randy ! (OK, I'm sorry, but it's often pointed out to me these days that the old ones are the best ?) Gonna have to get her to give me some lessons one day, I've been a fan since I first joined FOTMD

JohnH!!!

Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,702 posts

Yes, good call out RanMan. Robin makes it sound so smooooth and easy, but it takes a huge amount of work to get to that skill level. Beautiful playing Robin.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
john p
@john-p
3 years ago
213 posts

True that.

I always liked 'Quittin Time at Essex Mine' ... I'm a sucker for a good waltz.