Wout Blommers
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
7 years ago
97 posts

I like the image of the home town map, only don't walk the same way as you used to do, becasuse going left as usual when leaving home could be to the right when starting at the post office. Well, it could bring you to neigborhoods you've never been before Grin.gif

Music is a language one can learn e.g. by solfge. There are on line exercises useful when nothing else to do comes around. But the best way is playing, playing, playing and pla...

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
7 years ago
411 posts

This is an interesting topic to me, Lois, because I play in several different keys (D,G,C,A, Em and some others I probably don't know the name of) without retuning or using a capo.(I do, however, have 1.5 and a 6.5 frets).If other people want to retune or use capos, that's fine, and there will--I'm sure--be exceptions for me here and there. For instance, I use a capo for Reuben's Train. This all comes under the heading of "more than one way to play the dulcimer", I think.

For me, it's just been easier to leave my dulcimer in one tuning (DAd). The majority of the songs I play fall within those 5 keys. As I become more and more familiar with my fretboard, it's easier to try songs in a variety of keys. I do the best in D because that's what I started with, but I'm getting better all the time in switching to , say, G or C.

Until I took music theory classes, I didn't realize that I had always thought of the tunes spatially, or as a series of intervals. To further get the tune down, I thought of the individual notes as having a certain position in a scale (the first note, the fifth note, etc). I now know that these are referred to as "scale degrees" and each degree has its own name--but to keep it simple, they are often referred to by their numbers (with a caret mark " ^ " to show it is a scale degree). I don't know how to type the ^ over the number, however. Anyway, my point is that using scale degrees, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" will always start 1 1 5 5 6 6 5 4 4 3 3 2 2 1, no matter which key you are in. Still, my brain is probably more aware of the long leaps, short hops, and going up or down step-by-step. The numbers just help me be specific in the path I am taking (without having to name the intervals between the notes --and, yes, they all have names, too).

In a way,tab iskind of like using GPS and the car's step-by-step directions for getting somewhere. My brain wants to see the whole map and then know that I will be making several quick turns at the beginning of the trip, then going a long way on the interstate, then making a couple medium length sections and one final turn before arriving at my destination--and then I put numbers on it so I know I go 3 blocks, then turn left and go 2 blocks, then go 138 miles on I-75, etc. The "big picture" stays in my brain and at any given time I know where I am on it.

That's what music is like for me.

So when someone asks me, "How manytunes do you have memorized?!!" it's kind of like asking me how many ways I have memorized of getting from point A to point B in my hometown. I don't get lost trying to find the public library just because I'm starting out at the post office instead of at my house! The "music map" in my brain is even easier to follow, however, because those intervals stay the same no matter what key you're playing in....you just start out in a different spot.

Good luck with your music journey! A big part of enjoying the journey is finding out how you learn and internalize music.Smile.gif

Jan




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Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
7 years ago
199 posts

My former music teacher worked with me on this, even trying to get me to learn the notes like you might learn multiplication tables for the different keys. Didn't ever get to the point where I can do it automatically. I can figure it out (& am grateful for piano training to make the 1/2 step, whole step dance make sense), but want a good resource to check.

This is especially since the dulcimer's ability to re-tune, & thereby change where the notes are, tends to throw me at times. Yes, I did a bit of Drop D tuning on the guitar, but if I try to think in SMN it takes me a bit to wrap my head about it. My teacher didn't seem to understand this, but to me it was as if the piano suddenly had the keys move, change colors, & generally become altogether different.

What can I say? We all have our mental blocks & weaknesses. I say I'm Numerically Impaired. This is just another way it shows up.

This may also be why tab issomething so many cling to. Personally I find the dulcimer comes the closest to letting me learn a song & not be unable to play without the music. I may have said that in a backward way because I love having the security of the music there, but I can look away a bit more comfortably.

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
7 years ago
199 posts

Quick Dumb Question almost erupted. Was going to ask if there's a reason to get the so-called Encyclopedia, too. For now I'll skip the QDQ worry and get Neal Hellman's book. It + the SMN should do all I need at this stage in my development.

Hope the next wanderer on this path of learning finds our discussion useful. Thank you, Wout, Dan, and Ken.

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
7 years ago
199 posts

Ken,

Like you, I tend to play pieces with SMN and chords often are listed. Figure the melody note is needed as I need all its help in singing, so that meant figuring out the other 2 notes. Compared to guitar, I'm finding when I want to switch from melody/drone to a bit of actual chord, it's a simpler, but less automatic process than guitar. Yes, a guitar is flexible, too, but most of the time I don't bother with unusual tunings or chords on guitar.

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
7 years ago
199 posts

Excellent!

Thanks so much. Grin.gif

Dan Goad
Dan Goad
@dan-goad
7 years ago
156 posts

It covers just about any key you want and what ever mode.

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
7 years ago
199 posts

Thanks, Dan, yes, I read that on the Mel Bay site. My question on that particular book is what keys does it cover? Oh the joys of long-distance book shopping!Frown.gif Definitely not my preferred way, but maybe this discussion will also help others when similarly seeking.

Dan Goad
Dan Goad
@dan-goad
7 years ago
156 posts

Lois, this little booklet has over 500 chords for 5 widely used modes including Mixoydian, Ionian, Dorian and Aeolian plus Jazz and 4 string chromatic tunings.

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
7 years ago
199 posts

Yes, Wout, that lack of fixed tuning keeps cropping up as both a blessing and a curse. Still most of us use Ionian, Mixolidian, or Aeolian, so 7 major keys & minor keys are probably the most used. Yes, people could also do things like A flat, G sharp, etc., but the 14 main keys would seem basic.

Dan, what keys does your book cover? Mel Bayis a standard music publisher, but looking through their listings a while ago and now once again, I find myself with questions. It's the sort of thing handled so easily by browsing, but frustrating long distance. What keys does the Hellman book cover? The "Encyclopedia" omits Aeolian! If I eliminate the books only in the key of D, Mel Bay seems to come down to those 2 books in print or e-version.

Any other options beyond those 2? Even if it's an out-of-print book, there may be ways to find it without needing to create something that should be a standard reference.

Dan Goad
Dan Goad
@dan-goad
7 years ago
156 posts

Lois, you may want to check the publicaions offered by Mel Bay Publications. The one I have it the "Dulcimer Chord Book" written by Neal Hellman. There are several other dulcimer chord titles in Mel Bays listings. The url is www.melbay.com

Wout Blommers
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
7 years ago
97 posts

As you put it: chord books for the dulcimer are available in the key of D. But are they useful?

The guitar has mostly a fixed tuning (EAdgbe), the dulcimer hasn't.

Playing guitar the chords notationis mostly given added to SMN, above the staff where the song tekst is beneath the staff. The dulcimer mostly uses TAB together with SMN.

If chord books are useful, why shouldn't we, as the FOTMD forum, create our own?

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
7 years ago
199 posts

Walkedinto a music store yesterday -- always a dangerous thing! -- and saw guitar chord books. There have been various links and, I believe, even books for dulcimer chords in the key of D. Is there anything for other keys?

If Ican give a title, they can order it. Yes, I can do transposing, or work it up through SMN, but think it shouldn't be necessary to do all of that if someone has already done the work.


updated by @lois-sprengnether-keel: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM