Looking for tabs/books devoted to old style drone & noter playing

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
3 weeks ago
150 posts

This discussion brought up the dreaded "404 page not found", so I did my own finding via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine (a tool I highly recommend).  This went down fairly recently as this was last scanned Nov. 21, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20181121011416/http://barbfeick.com/vaudeville/Tabs/Dulcimer/   By the way I started with the general website Barb Feick did & it's quite huge, as playing dulcimer was only one of her instruments & one of her interests http://barbfeick.com/

Right now I'm looking for online sources of material, especially tab in preparation for going digital as much as possible.  To my dulcimer friends like @ken-hulme & others who believe tab is a crutch, I'm definitely handicapped & need it.  Sorry, but my ear lets me goof too often & memory has never been my strength -- Storytelling is best "from the heart & the moment" (although I sometimes have printed references handy), while memory is for acting.  (I do community theatre to help exercise it, but don't tend to be "letter perfect.")

John Gribble
John Gribble
@john-gribble
3 years ago
83 posts

Ken, I'm surprised people can't find the Richie book. I ordered my copy from Elderly Instruments a while back and no problem. (It was to replace the copy I bought in 19?? when the book was pretty new. My first copy disappeared sometime in the 1980s.) I just checked and they do have it in stock.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 years ago
1,581 posts

Thanks for that listing Sam.  I've never seen her tab gallery before.  Not just DAA, but DAd, DF#A, DGd and DGB melody line tabs as well as separate listings for Christmas and Hymns.    http://barbfeick.com/vaudeville/Tabs/Dulcimer/   That's one to bookmark, for sure!!

 

John - we don't mention Jean's book often, I guess,  because it can be difficult to acquire a copy these days.  Noter & Drone style is NOT about DAA tuning (although that is very common).  I've been playing N&D for over 40 years, and have played in every tuning except Phrygian, I think.  If you have a traditional dulcimer without the 6+ fret, Ddd (a.k.a. Bagpipe tuning) is very useful; perhaps more useful than DAA.  Ddd (or equivalent) without the 6+ fret, lets you play at least two tunings (Ionian and Mixolydian) without re-tuning, and you can "cheat" tunes from one or two other Modes as well.


updated by @ken-hulme: 04/21/16 09:25:05AM
Sam Searls
Sam Searls
@sam-searls
3 years ago
5 posts

I find thathttp://barbfeick.com/vaudeville/Tabs/Dulcimer/DAD/ is a good source for the DAD noter/drone style.  Also http://barbfeick.com/vaudeville/Tabs/Dulcimer/DAA/ for DAA.

John Gribble
John Gribble
@john-gribble
3 years ago
83 posts

I don't know why no one has mentioned Jean Richie's "The Dulcimer Book" yet. True, she talks about other tuning, too, but that is where she starts. I also like Lorinda Jones's "Dulcimer a la Mode." She gives everything drone style first, before "dressing things up." 

My profile picture shows the peghead and wooden pegs on my Kevin Merchant dulcimer. It isn't one of his replicas, but it is a lovely instrument and the friction pegs aren't a big deal. They work just fine.

John Henry
John Henry
@john-henry
3 years ago
258 posts

David !    Sounds as if you are in for some fun , as others have said there are sources available, but don't under estimate the one already available to you.........yourself, ie do not be inhibited by that little noter, when in i-5-5 (or thereabouts ) you will be surprised by how many tunes 'just happen',   I always sing 'em in my head whilst playing, as that definitely influences what my right hand does.    I fully endorse what Robin has said about using a 'guided' noter , whichever grip you decide on,  and on a minor practical note here, you might just want to 'ease' the ends of the nearside frets a tad, I have known people who abandoned the noter simply because 'it hurt their finger' !!!

good luck

JohnH

Like Robin, I to have enjoyed your excellent posts on ED, thank you.

'

Robin Clark
Robin Clark
@robin-clark
3 years ago
253 posts

Hi Dave,

I'm sure you'll get on just fine with wooden pegs.  I have to say that I love them.  I love the physical relationship I get with the instrument at the stat of each playing session from setting the pegs - it is a real organic task.  It's not difficult to tune something like an Ed Thomas replica to itself.  I start with the bass string and get that to the note I want - you don't have to be that accurate unless you are playing with others, just somewhere around D is a good start.  Then I tune the melody string by ear a perfect 5th above the bass string and check that the 3rd fret on the melody string is the octave of the bass.  It can take a little time to get this just right.  Then I tune the middle string to match the melody string.  A couple of tricks with pegs are to pull them out a little so they turn easy and push them in to stop them slipping.  Also, I make sure that the last winding where the string leaves the peg toward the nut is right up against the peg head side wall as that will make tuning easier and help stop the peg slipping.

Let me know when you get your dulcimer and we can have some fun on Skype smile

Lexie R Oakley
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
3 years ago
248 posts

Dave it is worth scratching the itch, my profile pict. is a Uncle Ed Thomas and it is terrific, best played noter/drone and I love it.

My fingers aren't able to handle wood pegs, so I had perfection pegs put on, they are a little tricky, but work very well. I say pursue your historical interest, this is what keeps me a strummin' enjoy it and have fun.

If you look at many of the videos people posted on this site you will see many play the noter/drone style and I know I have learned much more and appreciate the old style more and more.

Best of luck and have fun....Lexie 

David Bennett
David Bennett
@david-bennett
3 years ago
60 posts

Robin Clark:  Hi Dave - Are you sure you want to venture into the dark side blinders  The resources for learning early style noter drone tend to be scattered and do take some searching out.... If you want to Skype me so I can get you started I'd be happy to help.  Your posts on ED about dulcimer history have been excellent so I'd like to give something back.

 

Robin 

Robin, thanks for the pointers. I told Gordon that when I first got in to Mountain Dulcimers I really wanted to go the DAA noter/drone route since I didn't know DAA or DAD and the historical side of noter/drone appealed to me but everyone here is DAD (or don't do noter/drone even if they do other tunings like DAA and others) and I wanted to learn their way. I've been fighting this urge to go noter/drone for years and have decided win, lose, or draw I must scratch this itch. Since I'm committing to this I'm even having John Knopf make me an Uncle Ed replica. On one hand I may regret it all, particularly the wood pegs and relearning strumming techniques. On the other hand I might be able to scratch the itch... I'll probably take you up on your skpe offer, but maybe not until I get my new dulcimer.

 


updated by @david-bennett: 04/20/16 07:14:21PM
David Bennett
David Bennett
@david-bennett
3 years ago
60 posts

Strumelia:

David, the mostest simple of the simplest tunes for noter playing beginners:

 

http://dulcimer-noter-drone.blogspot.com/2009/02/new-player.html

 

After that, move on to Go Tell Aunt Rhody, and then Amazing Grace...ionian DAA tabs are there in my blog as well for those tunes.

Thanks

 

Robin Clark
Robin Clark
@robin-clark
3 years ago
253 posts

David Bennett:

I'm trying to get more into playing old style drone & noter players with a quill and with a dulcimer that only has the fret under the melody string.
I have some DAA tabs in my books but they have a lot of tunes that still require you move to the middle and base strings.
Are their any tab books or resources devoted to this style of playing?

 

 

Hi Dave - Are you sure you want to venture into the dark side blinders  The resources for learning early style noter drone tend to be scattered and do take some searching out.  You've had some great pointers already thumbsup  My advice would be:

1. Noter drone is playing is tough to get sounding 'musical' compared to modern chord melody DAd playing.  Many pieces are held together by the melody so your phrasing and timing have to be spot on.  Imagine switching from playing a guitar to playing a flute as a metaphor for switching style between chord melody and noter drone. 

2. Your right hand is going to set the feel of the tune, so 'skill with a quill' is a where it is all at.  Jean Ritchie's vertical quill style is a little hard to get hold of at first.  Be flexible with your wrist and work off an in-strum lead stroke.  The cut of the quill end has a BIG impact on tone, so experiment.  You'll need lots of quills because they don't last.  You'll be re-cutting the quill end every session you play. (I really should make a video about using vertical quills!!!!)

3. The thumb strum is a great and old technique for noter drone playing - good for slow tunes.  Jean Ritchie used it just as much as she used a quill.  It gives a very defined melody string sound.

4. Start with a simple wooden dowel about 3" long as a noter and practice different grips.  Personally I use guided grips because of their accuracy.  If you go to the old style noter drone players group page here on FOTMD you'll find links to additional pages on the right hand side under the title 'Group Pages'.  There's a whole bunch of stuff there about using a noter.

5. Have an aim in mind.  Christmas carols sound great in noter drone style so perhaps aiming to play a Christmas concert would be a good one to go for.

6.  Using a single melody string can be easier than using a melody pair.

7.  Start with DAA (a 1-5-5 tuning) as it is possibly the easiest starting point.  I tune all over place but 1-5-5 is the tuning I use most.

8.  If you want to Skype me so I can get you started I'd be happy to help.  Your posts on ED about dulcimer history have been excellent so I'd like to give something back.

Robin

 

Lexie R Oakley
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
3 years ago
248 posts

Strumelia:

David, the mostest simple of the simplest tunes for noter playing beginners:

http://dulcimer-noter-drone.blogspot.com/2009/02/new-player.html

After that, move on to Go Tell Aunt Rhody, and then Amazing Grace...ionian DAA tabs are there in my blog as well for those tunes.

Hi David, I have been playing the old style noter/drone sense my Dulci Journey began and I learned the most and began with Strumelia's noter drone blog. She gives clear and simple instruction and there is so much good information, I highly recommend beginning with  her blog. This will give you understanding of other tabs which aren't written for noter/drone and you will learn how to work around the tab for more chording with your noter playing.

Have fun!!!

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,663 posts

David, the mostest simple of the simplest tunes for noter playing beginners:

http://dulcimer-noter-drone.blogspot.com/2009/02/new-player.html

After that, move on to Go Tell Aunt Rhody, and then Amazing Grace...ionian DAA tabs are there in my blog as well for those tunes.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
David Bennett
David Bennett
@david-bennett
3 years ago
60 posts

John Keane:

Hello David, here's one that I am "pretty familiar" with:  http://www.folkcraft.com/1310182.html

thumbsup

 

David Bennett
David Bennett
@david-bennett
3 years ago
60 posts

Thanks to everyone who has provided comments. I appreciate them all.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 years ago
1,581 posts

David -- it might not hurt to take a loot at the article I wrote years ago and revised just recently.  It has a lot of that 155/158 and other information about tuning and playing, care and feeding of your dulcimer:

 


updated by @ken-hulme: 04/17/16 10:19:21PM
Dan Goad
Dan Goad
@dan-goad
3 years ago
165 posts

Getting back to your original question, David, the best books that I have found are Steve Seifert's "Join the Jam" series (one book in DAd and one in DAA having the same tunes in each.  Another is Bill Schilllings "Dulci-more Folk & Traditional Musicians Public Domain Songbook"  Bill's book is almost entirely DAA.  Steve's books are available on his website and I bought Bills book from Elderly Instruments.

James Phillips
James Phillips
@james-phillips
3 years ago
89 posts

The other thing, which I also answered on Facebook, is that if you find a melody line tab in DAd, you just have to add 3 frets, and you can have it in any Ionian tuning you are in, like DAA, EBB, CGG or Reverse, DGd.  My own playing is strictly noter/drone, but I tune things a bit different and don't want to hijack your thread to explain.

Dan
Dan
@dan
3 years ago
101 posts

I guess I should start by saying "1" is the bass string, tonic. "5" is the middle drone tuned 5 notes above (perfect fifth). 8 is the melody string tuned so play is Mixolydian an octave above the bass string, 1-8 making it diatonic.

Dan
Dan
@dan
3 years ago
101 posts

1-5-5 is DAA, 1-5-8 is DAd. We tune 1-5-5 to play 1-5-8 on the third staple, where the Ionian scale starts. We tune 1-5-8 to play Mixolydian from the open nut. You can tune 1-4-8, DGd to reverse the tuning to play Ionian.

David Bennett
David Bennett
@david-bennett
3 years ago
60 posts

Thanks y'all. I see I have a lot to learn. I don't eve know what the tabs are telling me when it says

1-5-5 or 1-5-8

 

Is one DAA and the other another tuning?

I need a "old style drone & noter for dummies" book!

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 years ago
1,581 posts

If you haven't devoured it yet, Lisa's Noter & Drone Blog is a wealth of information, tunes and techniques, posted since early 2009.

http://dulcimer-noter-drone.blogspot.com/

John Keane
John Keane
@john-keane
3 years ago
193 posts

Hello David, here's one that I am "pretty familiar" with:  http://www.folkcraft.com/1310182.html

David Bennett
David Bennett
@david-bennett
3 years ago
60 posts

I'm trying to get more into playing old style drone & noter players with a quill and with a dulcimer that only has the fret under the melody string.
I have some DAA tabs in my books but they have a lot of tunes that still require you move to the middle and base strings.
Are their any tab books or resources devoted to this style of playing?

 


updated by @david-bennett: 04/17/16 01:45:53PM