what was your first song on the dulcimer?

ART pRIOR
ART pRIOR
@art-prior
2 weeks ago
2 posts

I remember it well------my wife and I were walking through "Heritage Village" in Largo Florida shortly after we moved there in 1991 and saw a lady playing an instrument that we had never seen. She told us all about her mountain dulcimer and said she was going to be giving some lessons, so with my vast musical knowledge (absolutely none) I said why not. I bought a cardboard dulcimer kit, assembled it and started out with "Boil them cabbage down" which started out my wonderful journey with the dulcimer. Many thanks to Camille Hospadaruk for her patience in teaching me and to my poor wife that had to listen to all my mistakes.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 months ago
1,830 posts

I missed this thread too, Ken.   

The book I had 40 years ago was Jean Ritchie's Dulcimer book.  I suspect my first tune was Go Tell Aunt Rhodie as well, since it would have been one of the few tunes in that book which I knew.  The other would have been Barbara Allen.

Kusani
Kusani
@kusani
4 months ago
253 posts

Amazing Grace. 

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 months ago
654 posts

I wonder how I missed this thread 4 years ago? I do remember the first tune I played on the dulcimer: Go Tell Aunt Rhody. That was 44 years ago.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."


updated by @ken-longfield: 08/23/18 08:13:16PM
Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
4 months ago
259 posts
I believe it went like this:

Twinkle twinkle little Star;
Then: Aunt Rhodie;
Then: Boil them Cabbage down.

I can vividly remember yelling for my wife to cone on the porch and listen.

Boil Them Cabbage is still my most requested song at the Assisted Living Homes, where I play every week. Some of the super seniors just can't get enough of it. Some know all the words to all the verses.
Great great song.

Jesus Loves Me, was probably my 4th song.

Most life changing song was learning, Wildwood Flower.
Geckostar97
Geckostar97
@geckostar97
4 months ago
16 posts

Many moons ago my wife and I were on vacation in Arkansas when I walked into a little shop that had a cardboard dulcimer tuned to DAA and taped to a counter top. I following the instructions (also taped to the counter) and was playing "Amazing Grace" within 5 minutes.  I bought a solid walnut McSpadden from that shop. I loved it but soon grew tired of playing alone and eventually sold it to buy another guitar. I repeated the same process some years ago when I bought a dulcimer from Kurt Simmerman and ended up selling it before I learned to play it.  Yep, had to buy another guitar again. I now have my second McSpadden, my daughter and I have joined a local dulcimer club, and I am working to learn as much and as quickly as I can. I loved the sweet, soulful sound of the mountain dulcimer from day one, and I still do.  Oh, and I still love playing "Amazing Grace", it's just in DAd now. 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 months ago
1,900 posts

I can't really remember the first song I ever played on the dulcimer, but I can remember the first song I heard anyone play/sing live on the dulcimer (about 22 years ago now)... it was a guy playing a dulcimer and singing Hang me O Hang Me (I been All Around this World). It totally blew me away (the dulcimer instrument, not the song) and at that moment I simply HAD to get myself a dulcimer and learn to play it. I was completely in love with the mountain dulcimer from the first moment I saw and heard it played in person.  love  Ironically, I don't think I ever felt compelled to play that particular song, even though it sounded great when that fellow did it.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Timothy
Timothy
@timothy
4 years ago
11 posts

Started playing guitar in 1966, studying orchestral guitar, but leaning toward folk, country, bluegrass, and surf guitar.

Started playing dulcimer in 1975 with Jesse James and All My Trials from "Folksong Festival" and "Reprints from SingOut! Vol. 2" respectively.

Folksong Festival came from Scholastic Book Services, bought when i was ten. Remember ordering books in school, old-timers?Smile.gif

The set of 12 volumes of Reprints from SingOut! was bought one at a time with paper route money. Each one was over 60 pages of songs and cost $1.25 each. The store only had one copy of each volume, and I was afraid someone would buy one before I got them all, but I got each and every one.Grin.gif They were like a window into a strange and wonderful world. I thought they were treasure, and still do.

Started playing in bars around the same time(1975, not when I was a kid with a paper route), and brought the dulcimer along to mix things up a bit, as soon as I knew a few tunes on it. I remember playing Pallet on your Floor, Windy Mountain, Worried Man Blues, Froggie Went A-Courtin', Grandfather's Clock, in addition to the other two songs. I also recall that I could play I'll Fly Away, Handsome Molly, Ripple and Uncle John's Band, but usually preferred to play them on the guitar.

Thanks for starting this thread, it's nice to remember way back when, and to read everyone's experience and influences.

dulc.gif

John Tose
John Tose
@john-tose
4 years ago
27 posts

Unfortunately I left my copy at home after I went off to university and in the fulness of time they binned it along with everything else I'd left there. Including the stave dulcimer. At least I took my proper dulcimer with me...


updated by @john-tose: 06/30/15 12:49:12PM
john p
john p
@john-p
4 years ago
211 posts

I rate the shortish 'Play' section of that book as one of the best absolute beginner scripts I have ever come across, simple and uncluttered, with some very useful illustrations.

I still have a copy of that somewhere.

Didn't get hold of it until a year or two after I got my first dulcimer. It was my first introduction to all this mode stuff Smile.gif

I found it all very simple and easy to follow.

I've been buying John Pearse dulcimers for years and have had about 5 through my hands since. Great little things, I love 'em.

John Tose
John Tose
@john-tose
4 years ago
27 posts

Well i've been wondering what the first tune I ever played was and now you've answered it for me. I watched that TV series and made myself a `stave' dulcimer just like they said. And bought the book. Now you've jogged my memory i remember playing Au Claire de Lune from it. So that's it.

John Henry said:

Even tho' it was a very long time ago I have no trouble 'naming that tune'. It was "AU CLAIR DE LUNE" ! How can I be so precise ? 'Cos I'm looking at the book I learnt it from, "Make and Play the Dulcimer" by John Pearse (copyright 1970) Ignoring the 'Make' content, I rate the shortish 'Play' section of that book as one of the best absolute beginner scripts I have ever come across, simple and uncluttered, with some very useful illustrations. Must admit to some bias here tho', the book has sections on using a 'noter', and 'feathering'four ways, no less , including 'beating' (as you see, I have been playing on the 'dark side' for a very long time, lol) The availability of the book coincided with a weekly TV series "How To Make and Play The Dulcimer", and the emergence of a Folk/Rock Group named 'SteelEye Span', which included one 'Tim Hart', who sometimes played ..........Mountain Dulcimer !

JohnH

Maxspop
Maxspop
@bobby-maxspop-bingham
4 years ago
10 posts

When I first received my first dulcimer, a David Lynch Student Model, I strummed a crude, but recognizable version of "Sweet Hour of Prayer." I was like a kid in a candy shop--so thrilled! After only a coupla months, my playing is still bumpy and crude, but I'm having more fun than a 72 year old should be allowed!Grin.gif

Frank Ross
Frank Ross
@frank-ross
4 years ago
35 posts

First tune was "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" then maybe "Aunt Rhodie" and "Streets of Laredo"

Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
4 years ago
113 posts

Initially I learned a few simple tunes all around the same time. They were "Boil Them Cabbage Down", "Mairi's Wedding", "The Southwind" and "Rosin the Beau/Bow". I believe the one I actually learned first was "Mairi's Wedding", but it might have been "Boil Them Cabbage Down". In one sense it seems like so long ago, and yet in another it feels like yesterday. :)

John Henry
John Henry
@john-henry
4 years ago
339 posts

Even tho' it was a very long time ago I have no trouble 'naming that tune'. It was "AU CLAIR DE LUNE" ! How can I be so precise ? 'Cos I'm looking at the book I learnt it from, "Make and Play the Dulcimer" by John Pearse (copyright 1970) Ignoring the 'Make' content, I rate the shortish 'Play' section of that book as one of the best absolute beginner scripts I have ever come across, simple and uncluttered, with some very useful illustrations. Must admit to some bias here tho', the book has sections on using a 'noter', and 'feathering'four ways, no less , including 'beating' (as you see, I have been playing on the 'dark side' for a very long time, lol) The availability of the book coincided with a weekly TV series "How To Make and Play The Dulcimer", and the emergence of a Folk/Rock Group named 'SteelEye Span', which included one 'Tim Hart', who sometimes played ..........Mountain Dulcimer !

JohnH

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
1,066 posts

My first song was Rosin the Beau, which I learned from the Bing Futch video on YouTube. I became obsessed with the dulcimer about 4 months before actually buying one, and over those four months I watched that video so much that when I finally got my dulcimer, I pulled over to the side of the road, and played about half of that tune from memory. By the end of the day I had the rest of the tune as well. Oh, my playing wasn't that great, but it was a nice start!




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Don Tyo
Don Tyo
@don-tyo
4 years ago
13 posts

Burn them cabbage down and Lynchburg Town. Frown.gifGrin.gif

Lauralee White
Lauralee White
@lauralee-white
4 years ago
1 posts
The 1st song (4 hours ago) was "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". I'm a rank beginner - the mail man delivered my dulcimer this past afternoon. :D I don't know technique nor tablature in regards to the dulcimer. I don't know what notes go with what frets. It was fun playing by ear, plucking the strings.I also played The Ash Grove, I'll Fly Away, I Can't Stop Falling Love With You, and Just As I Am Without One Plea.
Babs Greene
Babs Greene
@babs-greene
4 years ago
124 posts

I honestly can't remember, I've been through so many tunes since I got it, mostly because it's so easy to play Smile.gifI think it may well have been a Xmas tune of some sort.

MacAodha
MacAodha
@val-hughes
4 years ago
26 posts

First song was Verdant Braes of Skreen which I got from More Irish Street Ballads by Colm O' Lochlann, first tunes were Petrie's Polka and Murphy's Polka I learnt from the group Na Fil.

Janene Millen
Janene Millen
@janene-millen
4 years ago
29 posts

Lord Lovel and Shady Grove from Larkin Bryant's book. One fingerpicked, one strummed, both in different tunings...and as I told people before, I felt fulfilled and just played those 2 songs for almost 10 years and had never seen or heard another dulcimer player in that time.Smile.gif

john p
john p
@john-p
4 years ago
211 posts

It would have been one of 'Red River Valley' , 'You are my Sunshine' , 'Good bye Girls I'm Going to Boston' or Bonepart Crossing the Rhine'. Probably Red River Valley.

These were the first few tunes I was taught and they got played to death until the fateful day when I was playing GBGIGTB and it morphed into 'The Dorset Four Hand Reel'. That was when I discovered I could play by ear and didn't need to remember fret orders or anything like that. There was no stopping after that and suddenly I could play hundreds of tunes.

Thinking back to those days(early 70s) a couple of songs I remember as very popular were 'Willie Moore' and 'Pretty Polly', neither seems to get much of a mention nowadays.

Benjamin W Barr Jr
Benjamin W Barr Jr
@benjamin-w-barr-jr
4 years ago
61 posts

I don't remember for certain, but I would have to say either Bile dem cabbage down or Go Tell Aunt Rhody. Neither song do I play on a consistent basis now.Smile.gif

Guy Babusek
Guy Babusek
@guy-babusek
4 years ago
103 posts

Blow the Candles Out arranged by Randy Wilkinson

Wout Blommers
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
4 years ago
100 posts

Greensleaves from the Mel Bay book Introduction to the Apalachian Dulcimer.

It still knocks people out when demonstrating the dulcimer.

Sam Searls
Sam Searls
@sam-searls
4 years ago
5 posts

Go Tell Aunt RhodyGrin.gif

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
4 years ago
239 posts

Can't really remember that far back, when I'se a youngun, but it was probably "Amazing Grace". It was the mid-seventies, and dulcimers were beginning to get more popular, but were played mostly Jean Ritchie-style.

Rob N Lackey
Rob N Lackey
@rob-n-lackey
4 years ago
473 posts

Little Rosewood Casket.

Colleen Hailey
Colleen Hailey
@colleen-hailey
4 years ago
68 posts
Down in the Valley, for me.
John Keane
John Keane
@john-keane
4 years ago
209 posts

The Crawdad Song for me.

Dan Goad
Dan Goad
@dan-goad
4 years ago
175 posts

I "Biled Dem Cabbage Down". LOL.

Good thread to start, James.

James Phillips
James Phillips
@james-phillips
4 years ago
94 posts

Thought it would be a nice thread idea for people to share about what there first song was on the dulcimer, and maybe any back story or how it came to be.

Mine was Wildwood Flower. I'd been playing autoharp and guitar the local dulcimer club, and there was a Thursday night session where it was just me and the lady that ran it. We were doing some tunes, and we started playing Wildwood Flower. I looked at her, and said, Diane, can you show me how to play that on the dulcimer? So line by line, I was shown on her dulcimer how to play Wildwood Flower. Diane favored DAA, so I was first shown Wildwood Flower out of DAA. After a while, I relearned it in DAd and then never could play it out Ionian tuning to save my life. Even now, on my 3 string Clark model dulcimer from Dan Cox that is tuned bagpipe Ccc, I play it from the open fret using DAd tab. My eventual goal is to relearn it out of Ionian, and usually I can do the first two lines just fine, but the third is where things start going south for me3.gif It is on my dulcimer bucket list to do, so we'll see.


updated by @james-phillips: 12/07/17 03:45:01AM