The Positive Thread...
OFF TOPIC discussions
That's an original, Dusty, except from the quote of Vocabulary.com.
By the way I have painted a turtle to go along with this and I will post it
under photos soon! Take care, John
February 17th is Ash Wednesday and I have been looking over Lenten hymns. One that I particularly like is "When Jesus Left His Father's Throne" by James Montgomery. It is in the Aeolian mode and is set to an Old English melody. You can find it in The Dulcimer Hymn Book" by Bud and Donna Ford. I plan to do this as a video on FOTMD closer to Palm Sunday:" I particularly like the verse in "When Jesus Left His Father's Throne":
"When Jesus into Zion rode The children sang around; For joy they plucked the palms and strowed Their garments on the ground..."
I'll start off this thread by mentioning one of my favorites: "What Wondrous Love Is This?" or shortened to "Wondrous Love" Hymnary.Org says the author is Anonymous. It appeared in "Southern Harmony" and is in 221 hymnals. I found tabs for it in "The Dulcimer Hymnal" by Bud & Donna Ford, and in "White Spirituals and Folk Hymns" by Anne Lough. Recordings of it can be heard on FOTMD Videos. Search for "What Wondrous Love is This?" by myself, John W. McKinstry, or "Wondrous Love" by Brian G. I am sure that there may be other tabs to this and other recordings too but this is a start.
I noticed in the calendar that Ash Wednesday is February 17th, the beginning of Lent and so I have been looking at Lenten hymns. To mark the beginning of Lent I have chosen a Spiritual: "I Want Jesus To Walk With Me". This video will be posted on February 15th.
Thanks Strumelia for seeing my cleverness. All joking aside, I wanted to share this with others for it took me a long time to discover how to do this. For those who may be interested in the three chords I use: F, Bb.& C my fingering for them is as follows: Starting with the top string and with the capo on the third fret: F= 3 3 3 or 5.3 3 Bb= 6 4 3 C= 4 3 4. btw I found that fingering the F chord on the dulcimer is a lot easier than on the guitar. I am afraid arthritis is catching up on and that is one more reason I am thankful for the dulcimer.
I am working on the hymn: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus". Hymnals have it in the key of F with one flat which puts it in a good singing range. I put my dulcimer into F by capo-ing on the 3rd fret while the strings are tuned C G C. I have worked out the three basic chords F, B, and C to accompany my singing of this hymn. I'll do the video of this hymn for FOTMD soon for you to hear and see what I have done.
Sometimes I have found that reading dulcimer tabs can be confusing. If you use three lines to represent the three stings and say you are in a 1-5-8 tuning your lower notes may be on the middle of top line. This is the reverse of regular musical score. I have found that if I use my chromatic tuner (Korg) it tells me what note I am sounding on the dulcimer so then I can translate this into regular musical score. It makes it easier to tell which note is really up or down. I know that there is something in Table Edit to help you here and there are probably templates that can help in translating tab to musical score or vice versa. I have found that using the chromatic tuner is a simple way for me. Perhaps others have other suggestions?
Thanks Richard for playing this hymn for these difficult times of Covid. Pastor Martin Rinkart's city of Eilenberg, Germany had suffered from plague, famine, and fear. He brokered the peace to settle this "Thirty Years War", and then wrote this hymn of thanksgiving.
"A Taste of Jam"
Recently I rediscovered the "Athens Dulcimers" website. They offer: "Beginner Tunes", and "Basic Jam Tunes". They play by ear in these videos, but through research I came up with tabs to help me at first with these tunes. My goal now is to play by ear like they do too. Now I have a taste jam before joining the real thing.
Hi, My daughter has had trouble posting a video of mine that she put on You Tube to FOTMD.
I think the problem is that I have forgotten the password. Can I get a new pass word by
going to the settings and entering a new one? Can one just use numbers in the password
or if I use letters and numbers is there a certain length that they should be?
Hi D, I am glad you asked that question for I have wondered about this myself. I understand the total size of the dulcimers is the same. I think the advantage would be in the fact that the frets would be slightly closer together which would help in playing chords.
Thanks everyone for your kind responses. Your are wonderful and supportive community. John
The poem should read as follows:
There is no storm
When the dulcimer sings.
Hatred and hurricanes
Wait in the wings.
The gentle song
Of the dulcimer strings
Is the unspoiled paasion
A friend of mine, Val Coleman, of Sandisfield, MA. wrote a beautiful poem after listening to our "Sweet Strings" dulcimer group. I wish to share this tribute to the sweet music of the Mt. Dulcimer with all of you.
There is no storm When the dulcimer sings. Hatred and hurricanes Wait in the wings.
The gentle song Of the dulcimer strings Is the unspoiled passion Of everything.
Hi Terry, Two songs that come to my mind are: "Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella. It has a lively folk feel to it. Another song which I have done at Christmas but actually is a Thanksgiving Song is: "Over The River And Through The Woods".
My wife wrote a hymn: "Be Paitent and Be Gentle with your Faults and Failings" see videos FOTMD. The hymn tune she used is called "Lynne' and was written about 1940. The Rev. Bates G. Burt wrote a hymn entitled: "O God of Youth, Whose Spirit.." and then he wrote this hymn tune "Lynne" also to go with it. Is there a way of knowing if that hymn tune "Lynne" is now in the public domain or whether it is still copywrited?
Hi everyone, Thanks for all your input. I came across this article written back in 1982 by A.W.Jeffrey Jr. recommending the three string dulcimer. And I thought it might give a different perspective on the 3-string - 4-string discussion. I quote: "The traditional Appalachian dulcimer has been for the most part a simple and flexible 3-string instrument. Some early folk instruments had four strings which were really 3-string instruments with double melody strings to make four strings in all. This was done because early makers did not always have quality acoustical woods available to them, and the melody string was often overridden in volume by the two drone strings..The three string is recommended. It is more flexible for the various methods of playing. There is less string to tune and risk breaking. It is easier to change from one modal tuning to another, and its simplicity makes it more versatile. The sound is more uniquely that of a mountain folk dulcimer."
AS far as the balance idea for 3 or 5 string, I can see that it all depends upon what style you are playing in. If you are a noteter-drone player and if you are playing with other instruments, say the fiddle, then the four strings might be wanted. If you are playing in a melody chord style and you want to use all strings individually to accomplish this, then you might like the balance of three strings.
Hey everybody, I am really enjoying your posts. I do believe it is an individual choice. Although I still favor the single melody string, I have found one dulcimer, the Flat Creek Student Dulcimer, a large plywood box type of dulcimer, that sounds particularly good with the doubled strings. The doubled melody strings on this particular dulcimer seems to give it more of a sustained quality. I am glad to have several dulcimers by different builders, for each one has a different voice and has something to offer. Variety, really is the spice of life.
Thanks Rob for the information. I am becoming more flexible in appreciating the double string. I think its not the instrument that needs a balanced, approach but me. I am so glad that the Mt. Dulcimer is a folk instrument, and therefore is open to a variety of style. Keep up the good strumming and singing. John
Thanks Ken H. and Ken L. I do so appreciate your experience and knowledge. I have found one advantage of the double string recently and that is when sounding the melody strings for my library class 0f beginners they are able to hear the sound of it for tuning purposes. I started my dulcimer playing with a three string Jeffrey Dulcimer back in 1978 and have loved its simplicity ever since.
I have always been a three stringed player and have had students wonder why I would ask them to put aside one of the doubled melody strings. I tell them that I like the pure harmony and balance of the strings, and that it is easier for them to press down on the frets to begin with. Of course I am also a melody-chord type of player. I feel that there are certain effects such as arpeggio's, and hammer-ons and pull- offs that are easier this way. I have always thought that a doubled stringed dulcimer sounded more like a mandolin. I know you can get more volume with a doubled melody string. I also know that the noter/drone style is more effective with the doubled melody string. I keep thinking that the reason so many dulcimers these days come with doubled melody strings is because the maker doesn't know if you are a noter/drone or melody-chord player. I would like to know what others of you think about the advantages and disadvantages of a three string or a doubled melody string are.
Mike, I think it is great that you can try different sources. One thing I would like to point out about Anne Lough's book is that she plays noter style. My students and I play with our fingers and we are free, however, to choose our own fingering. I suggest to my students in D A A that they start with the ring finger on do and then use the middle finger for re and the index finger for fa. Going up the scale use the index finger and then going down the scale reverse everything. The high do is the index finger, ti is the middle finger and la is the ring finger and using this same ring finger now end up eventually back on the 3rd fret do with the ring finger. Have fun. John
The best beginner book that I like is "Welcome to the Mountain Dulcimer: by Anne Lough. She covers D A A, D A C, and D A D. She also includes a C.D.. I have had five students use this book and all love it. I, myself, often like to use the C.D. to play along with and at times to add harmony. I love her choices of tunes that are known by so many and seem to be dulcimer classics. The book is simple and basic and uncomplicated. And that is just the way I like it.
Thanks Brian G and Skip. Thinking of D A d as a tuning which allows for Mixolydian or Ionian tunes to be played is helpful. Anne Lough in her book: "Welcome to the Mt. Dulcimer" suggests that this tuning could also be called 1-5-8 or Do-So-Do. This frees up my thinking also so that DAd could also be CGc etc. Again thanks.
I know that technically a pure D A d is the Mixolydian Mode with a flatted seventh in the scale. (Example: Old Joe Clark) I also know that when a person says they play in D A d but are using the sixth and one half fret (6+) that they are actually playing an extended Ionian scale without the flat. (Example: South Wind). How then should a person who says they are playing in D A d distinguish between the two?
Hi Leighann, I had a dulcimer student who had trouble holding onto the pick and the solution we came to was to buy her a "Shark Tooth Pick". sThe Shark tooth is a cloth sleeve that goes over your thumb and fastens with velcro. The sleeve holds the pick steady at the same time. You can check it out on live by going to "Shark Tooth Pick".
Jan Potts said:
And if you have a simple cardboard box more or less the correct size, you can buy the plastic handles or attach one of your own design.
I HAVE reshaped the foam of an hourglass dulcimer foam case to accommodate a Banjammer, but I spent hours on it and the end result wasn't great (needs several more hours of work).
I recently bought a 36"LL Bean zippered nylon snowshoe bag. It's deep enough to carry an instrument or two in soft cases or bags, folding stand, folding stool, music folders, etc. It has carry straps and weighs just ounces. Part of it is mesh, though, so it might not provide much protection from the weather. I got it mainly so I could transport a bunch of stuff in one trip, like to a jam. It would also work great just as a misc. gear bag to be carried in addition to your instrument in a more protective case. I have anLL Bean VISA card, so I bought it with some of my Bonus Coupons.
Thanks Ken, As they say" "Waste not, want not."
Kenneth W. Longfield said:
John, that's a neat case. Very handy (pardon the pun).
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
John W. McKinstry said: