Modern Sheet Music/Tab?

Rain Dog
Rain Dog
@rain-dog
one month ago
14 posts
@geezer I suggest going ahead and learning one song while you're working on fundamentals. That will give you some accomplishment and something to show off. Plus it's more fun than just playing scales.
Gennaro
Gennaro
@gennaro
one month ago
7 posts

Thanks Brian. I'll check those links. I think I'm trying to play tunes too soon. I've only had my dulcimer a week. I really should focus on fundamentals for a while. Most definitely not a natural.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,749 posts

@geezer , I agree with what Brian G advised.  With your experience, there really is little need for you to be looking for tab books.  Though dulcimers are not tuned to the same intervals as guitars, thus you'd have to learn different fingerings and chords than you use on your guitar.  But you should be able to figure out lots of contemporary tunes you already are familiar with, on your own.

If you read sheet music, you can skip looking for dulcimer tabs books and instead do google image searches for tunes you want to play.  Keep in mind that if a tune is contemporary, it will more likely be under copyright and this limits your ability to get copies of it for free and/or online... whether it's dulcimer tab, standard sheet music, guitar tab, etc.

@Gennaro - there are skilled dulcimer players around who play complex modern music, blues, baroque music, etc on their dulcimers, and they do it beautifully.  But do keep in mind that mountain dulcimers were created in the 1800s in imitation of yet older European folk instruments that were used by 'common folk' to play relatively simple folk tunes and hymns... hence the diatonic fretboard and traditional basic tunings using the tonic note and a fifth for the most part (DAd, DAA).  It's a little more challenging to play modern or complex music on a diatonic dulcimer than it is to play such music on a chromatic six string guitar.  Some people who play various types of instruments will have different repertoires that they choose for a particular instrument, based on what that instrument is best at doing. There are no actual limits, but know that some things can be easier or more challenging!
If you play other instruments as well, you have a general musical jump start and advantage.  But, you won't be able to play the same fingerings/chords you are used to between dulcimer and guitar or banjo.




--
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-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
one month ago
100 posts

Gennaro:

I'm also looking for something more contemporary. Bought a 70 song tab book and am only interested in one song.  Cat Stevens' Morning has broken. Won't do that again. Found one fellow teaching Norwegian Wood on stick dulcimer but just a lot of strumming. I must be old to consider a 50 yr old song contemporary, but compared to most I see, it is.

Hi Gennaro,

The melody of Morning Has Broken is actually a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune called Bunessan. (And the lyrics for Morning Has Broken were actually written by Eleanor Farjeon and set to this melody).  You can find the tune here:

Bunessan Tune Page

As for Norwegian Wood, I play an arrangement that is not just strumming. In case it helps you in any way, you can see it here:

Norwegian Wood

Gennaro
Gennaro
@gennaro
one month ago
7 posts

I'm also looking for something more contemporary. Bought a 70 song tab book and am only interested in one song.  Cat Stevens' Morning has broken. Won't do that again. Found one fellow teaching Norwegian Wood on stick dulcimer but just a lot of strumming. I must be old to consider a 50 yr old song contemporary, but compared to most I see, it is.

Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
one month ago
100 posts

Hi Geezer,

I would normally suggest getting yourself a software program that can read ABC files (at a minimum) and then using that software to turn those files into tablature. Such software can be found for free, and there are many ABC tune files available for free online.

But if you've been playing classical guitar for 40 years, you can read music, and you can skip the conversion to tab and just look online. There are countless tunes available online for free.  To give one example, you can go to http://abcnotation.com/.  From there you can get to over 600,000 tunes as abc files, sheet music pdfs, MIDI files, etc. It's truly amazing how much is available.

Enjoy your dulcimer. It's a fantastic instrument.  (This is coming from a guy who also studied classical guitar, though I don't play too much anymore, and I haven't played for 40 years.)  :)

 

Geezer
Geezer
@geezer
one month ago
2 posts

Yes. I've been playing guitar for 60 years -- mostly classical for the last 40. That might sound impressive to a lot of people, but I'm really not all that good at it. I'm hoping some of what I can do will transfer to some extent.

That festival is only 2 hours away!

Thanks for the info!

Lisa Golladay
Lisa Golladay
@lisa-golladay
one month ago
103 posts

Hi Geezer, do you play other instruments or will dulcimer be your first?

Celtic music works beautifully on dulcimer. Many tab books are available (look for Irish, Celtic, O'Carolan in the titles) and you can download free tabs here to get started: https://www.dulcimer.net/dulcimer-celtic-tabs/

Blues is also surprisingly well suited to dulcimer.  Bing Futch has the book you need.  The festival you need is coming in April: https://fotmd.com/carla-maxwell/event/221/delta-blues-dulcimer-revival-clarksdale-ms#cm165388

A 1-1/2 fret is very useful for blues players.  Not mandatory, but it makes life easier.

Jazz standards are tricky.  They require notes you can't easily find on a traditional dulcimer fretboard.  If that's your music, I suggest you start with a chromatically-fretted dulcimer and check out Stephen Seifert's books and online classes. There is another option: use a regular diatonic fretboard and try Janita Baker's four-string chromatic tunings from her Blues and Ragtime book: https://www.bluelioninstruments.com/books_cds.html

Neither of those options is particularly easy.  Quite frankly, if you are a beginning musician and your heart's set on playing Gershwin as soon as possible, then I am honor-bound to tell you it'd be easier on ukulele.  There are tons of books and lessons for learning the Great American Songbook on uke. It's hard to find similar materials for dulcimer.  

Of course, hard-to-find is not the same as impossible.  Here's Misty on dulcimer: https://www.tullglazener.com/instruction-packets/misty

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one month ago
1,697 posts

There are probably thousands of books out there now which have tab for a wide variety of musical styles; in particular Celtic. Mel Bay publishes a ton of tab books.  Individual artists also make and sell tab books on their own websites.   Old jazz standards and blues tab for dulcimer is going to be much harder to find.  You can always contact Stephen Seifert directly, and Bing Futch for jazz.  

Most of what you mention are not particularly suited for beginners, however.  We find that often the best beginning tunes are those which you have imbedded in you since childhood.... tunes you can sing/hum/or whistle on demand.  Learning to pick out those sorts of tunes is an excellent way to learn what your dulcimer is capable of.

Geezer
Geezer
@geezer
one month ago
2 posts

I'm thinking about trying the dulcimer. I'm going this week to a dealer to look at some instruments. Where can I find music other than Appalachian and hymns? I like old jazz standards such as Misty, The Nearness of You, Someone to Watch Over Me, etc.

I'd also like some Irish/Celtic tunes --- calm, mellow, slower tunes -- maybe even some blues. I've watched a few Stephen Seifert YouTube videos. He play some stuff I really like.