What Are You Working On?

HEWalker
@hewalker
4 weeks ago
26 posts

Ken Hulme:

Get a fancy wooden rosette to decorate that hole and you're on your way!

There are six holes in it!

 

 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 weeks ago
1,555 posts

Get a fancy wooden rosette to decorate that hole and you're on your way!

Kusani
@kusani
4 weeks ago
186 posts

Sonometer is a device for demonstrating the relationship between the frequency of the sound produced by a plucked string, and the tension, length and mass per unit length of the string. These relationships are usually called Mersenne's laws after Marin Mersenne (1588-1648), who investigated and codified them.

Hmmmmmmmm........  confusey    nod


updated by @kusani: 10/23/17 03:13:45PM
HEWalker
@hewalker
4 weeks ago
26 posts

Working on figuring everything out to convert this antique sonometer  42" section (this is one of three pieces of the original sonometer) into a rather large box/church dulcimer!  This is a work in progress and some day I will post the finished product!!!

 

Sonometer is a device for demonstrating the relationship between the frequency of the sound produced by a plucked string, and the tension, length and mass per unit length of the string. These relationships are usually called Mersenne's laws after Marin Mersenne (1588-1648), who investigated and codified them.

 

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updated by @hewalker: 10/23/17 03:10:23PM
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
4 weeks ago
83 posts

IRENE:

Lois, here's a little trick you can try, in fact, anyone can try..........VISUALIZE you singing and doing your program doing it very well.   Visualize you inside that place you'll be performing in....visualize you being calm and getting your note of pitch just right....and all with calmness.  Come early to your performance place.....sing where the acoustics are best....and in your mind, "here I will sing and perform well and we all will have a happy time...."  This is a different kind of practice....it can be done on a bus, or in a car or in the middle of the night when you can't sleep.   but it works for better performances and ones that others take away a happy feeling from your own live style.  aloha, irene

Thanks, Irene.  Wish I could say visualizing was able to cure this.  Had plenty of visualizing, even had done a storytelling in that room.  What I didn't do was go in it before the showcase while librarians were at lunch.  Spent time setting up my table and talking with other performers and staying out of the way of set-ups in the room which seemed to need the room more.  Wrong!

I think there's more going on here in my head.  I get entirely too rattled when it comes to music.   

Here's a perfect example.  Last month I did House of the Rising Sun at the Folklore meeting.  Yes, I know the room and the group (like the showcase and, even though they weren't librarians I knew, this is my "tribe"), but I am also intimidated, giving importance at a high level.  Any playing mistakes on Sun were minor enough it was in line with being just not what _I_ planned.  By the middle or so my right leg, supporting the dulcimer, started to twitch.  By the end that was bouncing very obviously.  Yes, I had to sing in a higher pitch than I liked, but I managed, just hated what else happened.  I try to perform there to get past this!  O.k. it's had to be months since I have been able to be there, but that shouldn't have made a difference.

I can "run my mouth for fun and profit" and do a good job.  I can even sing a capella in my programs or to my husband's banjo.  Get me playing, or somebody else playing, and I am hard pressed to find the pitch.  I love musicals, want to audition well for a show next month.  Hoo boy! I know too well what a mess is possible.  Not the right visualizing I know.

Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
4 weeks ago
210 posts
Thanks to all for posting. Really enjoy following along. Great stuff.
marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
560 posts

Strumelia: (bad notes - not get you down.  You just have to press on and enjoy the small victories........  .......it's the journey you can enjoy... those bright sparkling moments when it all comes together and sounds sweet.......   .........and it bathes the soul!)

How right you are, I think of playing the dulcimer as 'food for my soul' but I like the idea of it 'bathes the soul'

The GT-1 (programmable effects pedal) I am working with & trying to create some sounds is very hit & miss. With "Father Along' I did about 2 weeks ago & posted; the patch I created sounds so beautiful - but to get a selection of patches I can use for other songs is very limiting since there is much I don't know in creating the patches but I am pressing on & will  'enjoy the small victories........'

As I am using some of my patches in playing, I am beginning to play in sections on the middle string ( in 'Father Along' -  A in DAd) This is also something I need to work on, besides counting quickly for the correct note I am not quite sure how to play on the middle string - I slide my middle finger, letting the string sing & at times using my ring finger on the bass string to catch a harmonic note. Any ideas you may have to pass on to me in adding the middle string now & than, would be very helpful.

Thanks

 

IRENE
@irene
4 weeks ago
65 posts

Lois, I LOVED YOUR POST....and love the idea of "petting zoo" of instruments. (I have wayyyyyyyyyyyy too many) I often have large groups in my home and I do what you say and stories and music and then say, "would any of you like to try these instruments out?"  ohhhhhhh boy.  stampeeeed. and so very much fun with the musical young folks that come to Nauvoo, Illinois.  Lois, here's a little trick you can try, in fact, anyone can try..........VISUALIZE you singing and doing your program doing it very well.   Visualize you inside that place you'll be performing in....visualize you being calm and getting your note of pitch just right....and all with calmness.  Come early to your performance place.....sing where the acoustics are best....and in your mind, "here I will sing and perform well and we all will have a happy time...."  This is a different kind of practice....it can be done on a bus, or in a car or in the middle of the night when you can't sleep.   but it works for better performances and ones that others take away a happy feeling from your own live style.  aloha, irene

Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
4 weeks ago
921 posts

Golden Slippers.  On a new Appalachian dulcimer with staple partial frets with doubled melody strings.  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 weeks ago
1,866 posts

Great post Lois... and I too can relate to so many things you describe!  blush




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
4 weeks ago
83 posts

Boy can I relate to Strumelia's "Well, I'm often working on just too many music goals and too many instruments to keep up with them all (Dang!, but Oh Well)"!  I have other instruments I keep meaning to play, but the dulcimer is most of the time what I play. 

I've a piece I play using "Shortenin' Bread's" tune to open a storytelling gig for kids and get them seated.  Do it enough it's usually not practiced that much.  Guess I should have, or at least practiced it while singing.  Used it (on Friday the 13th no less) to open a presentation at a showcase.  Between nerves & the room's acoustics I blew finding the pitch with my voice!  YIKES!  Switched to a semi-talking & on into my talking & using the other folk instruments (in this case how I tell with an mbira & use the Native American flute with N.A. programs) since I wanted to show how I can use my variety of instruments as a "folk instrument petting zoo", complete with letting kids explore them after a storytelling session.  <Sigh!>  Can't always do as well as we plan.

My local folklore society sets monthly themes for their meetings and that gives me song goals.  I try to mainly focus on the dulcimer, since it's too tempting to try a variety of instruments from that "petting zoo."  This coming month the theme is Happiness and Joy.  I've been working on a medley by Dana & Hank Gruber combining Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" with the "Chicken Reel."  I can just picture members tuning out on Beethoven only to surprise them by sliding into the Chicken Reel and eventually tying it up with Beethoven.

Christmas is a coming and I'm working on 3 pieces to bring back for my Victorian Christmas program.  "O Tannenbaum", a.k.a. "Oh Christmas Tree" because of the Germanic roots of Victorian Christmas and beyond; "Good King Wenceslaus" because carols became popular then; and a finale of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" I hope to do with my husband's banjo are what I plan, although Wenceslaus is optional since he softly (for a banjo) plays carols.  I present the program as a Hired Girl, with him playing as the Hired Man in the background.  I promote the musical part of the program as how the average people enjoyed music in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Performing music is always the hardest, scariest part of throwing it into my storytelling.  I can run my mouth and keep things entertaining almost always, but music?!?  If I'm going to flub anything, that's where it will happen.  When I'm performing as myself I can always (except for that showcase) say "Now you know why I'm a storyteller and not a musician."

 

 

 

Bob
@bob
one month ago
137 posts

Thanks Strumelia- a nice break from the more detailed work of making a dulcimer (as I make plans for the next one!)

Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,866 posts

Thank you Ginny and Dusty!   Dusty, you said some good things there that I'll be thinking about.

 

Bob, what creative and pretty one-of-a-kind case you've made!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
one month ago
936 posts

Strumelia: What am I working on?...

the other evening Brian and I sat in the kitchen  [. . .]  I would play the the plain melody for him until he 'caught' it on the fiddle.  At that point he'd keep playing melody and I'd start floundering around on my pennywhistle looking for harmonies or intervals that sounded good with the different parts and phrases.  Doing this, I make tons of truly awful sounding attempts, which Brian doesn't seem to mind at all since he's busy enough keeping the melody going despite all my harmonic distractions...heheh.  Lots and lots of mistakes, but it's sooo rewarding when i stumble upon a really pretty harmony phrase and for a few brief shining moments we sound divine together.  [. . .]

 This is what I live for in music. 

Strumelia, there is so much wisdom in your post: the joy of sharing music with loved ones; the value of just playing by ear and trying to figure things out on your instrument; the permission one gives oneself to make mistakes; and the joy of the moment, the magic that comes from creating something in real time, something whose beauty rests in part on the fact that it is ephemeral, does not last, and is not repeatable.  It is not captured in tablature or on video for perennial viewing, reviewing, and then critiquing.  Thanks so much for sharing all that.    As Robert Frost wrote, "Nothing gold can stay."

Having said that . . . I would urge you . . . every now and then . . . to record one of these improv sessions.  Feel free to erase it all, but you might find a nugget or two that you can work on again and turn into something special the two of you can play over and over.  Maybe you can create a different kind of magic that way.  As Joni Mitchell pointed out, "No one ever asked Van Gogh, 'paint "A Starry Night" again, man.'"  But I'm glad I can listen to her sing "California" over and over.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

Ain't no money in poetry; that's what sets the poet free.
I've had all the freedom I can stand.
-- Guy Clark

updated by @dusty-turtle: 10/14/17 02:46:45AM
Bob
@bob
one month ago
137 posts

I am finishing up a Dulcimer Carry Case today that will be going to a customer in California, for her Prichard repro. It's just a fanciful Pa Dutch design I made.

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updated by @bob: 10/13/17 05:09:22PM
Ginney Camden
@ginney-camden
one month ago
6 posts

I loved your post today Strumelia.

Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,866 posts

What am I working on?...

Well, I'm often working on just too many music goals and too many instruments to keep up with them all (Dang!, but Oh Well), but to mention the most recent moment...

the other evening Brian and I sat in the kitchen (it being too cold out on our new porch) and he went into some open fiddle tuning that i know nothing about that enables him to play in D minor.  Don't ask me why D minor...it's complicated but basically was a compromise between his fiddle and my whistles.  I played my key of C penny whistle but based the tonic note one step/hole up, to play in aeolian key of D.  So we had fun experimenting with maybe eight very old tunes in 'minor mood'.  I think the earliest tune was from the 1200s, and the latest was from mid 1800s.  Anything simple that was old and minor sounding.

Brian doesn't read music (and I only read in a very basic way), so I would play the the plain melody for him until he 'caught' it on the fiddle.  At that point he'd keep playing melody and I'd start floundering around on my pennywhistle looking for harmonies or intervals that sounded good with the different parts and phrases.  Doing this, I make tons of truly awful sounding attempts, which Brian doesn't seem to mind at all since he's busy enough keeping the melody going despite all my harmonic distractions...heheh.  Lots and lots of mistakes, but it's sooo rewarding when i stumble upon a really pretty harmony phrase and for a few brief shining moments we sound divine together.  flutefiddle angellic

I love doing this kind of thing, especially on instruments that I am endeavoring to learn to play.  The thing of it is, though, that you (and anyone else involved) have to let all the bad notes not get you down.  You just have to press on and enjoy the small victories.  If you do it many times you inevitably get a little better.  But even if you never get to the destination of being able to play a particular tune beautifully from start to finish... it's the journey you can enjoy... those bright sparkling moments when it all comes together and sounds sweet.  Even if that's only one moment of the many in a tune... I grab it and take delight in it.  That one sweet sounding moment can rise high above all the lesser sour notes, and it bathes the soul!  sun   This is what I live for in music.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 10/13/17 01:36:27PM
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
2 months ago
256 posts
Dusty Turtle:

Robert, I remember vividly a picture you posted of barrels of Jersey tomatoes with a dulcimer sitting on top.


I enjoyed taking that photo, thanks for reminding me of it. The down side of digital is zillions of photos. Pictures get lost in the jumble.

My sister is on the Gulf coast of FL. Took direct hit but miraculously no damage.
We are enjoying the outer band of Maria. Pretty clouds cool breezes. We could use a little rain.

Just finished a semi fretless banjo, very exciting. Put strings on and waiting for it to settle in so I can play it... Robert.
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 months ago
1,866 posts

Marg, it does my heart good to read about your experience at the senior facility.  What good medicine for the body, soul, and spirit your group's music must have been to the folks there!  Truly.   clap




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
marg
@marg
2 months ago
560 posts

Yes, you do sound busy. Hurricane recovery takes time but we are lucky where as Puerto Rico is at such a stand still. I hope they can get help there quickly, no power leads to many more problems. 

I played with my group today at a new senior care facility, they were enjoying it so much it was exciting for us, the players also. Not sure how many visitors they get but they want us to come back. When we played 'whispering hope' one from the group sang, oh so beautiful & with a German song one of the guys who has a very bass voice sang. Included today were several different types of instruments, hammered dulcimer, pick & stick, tin whistle, harmonica & a Bowed Psaltery with the 7 dulcimers. Really was very nice and well enjoyed.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
1,555 posts

Busy, busy!

Still doing some hurricane recovery -- although we had no damage to my boat or Lady Sally's house, there is a ton of windfall branches, trees, etc to be gathered together for eventual removal.  

Musically, I'm halfway through building a  kit uke for a friend's music-for-youth program across the river.  Also I just got strings to re-string my free Bowed Psaltery (that will take a day, I'm sure). 

Tomorrow I'm expecting some "sample" wood from a relatively new supplier out in CA, who provides top grade dulcimer and guitar wood sets,  who is sending me a prototype Lyre wood set.  I plan on building a replica 6th century Lyre from the Oberflacht 84 archaeological dig in Germany near the French border.  More to come on the wood supplier!

Putting together a set of tunes for our Seasonal Open Mics which will start up again in October -- Child Ballads old/new, plus some old and new Scottish tunes.  

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 months ago
936 posts

Robert, I remember vividly a picture you posted of barrels of Jersey tomatoes with a dulcimer sitting on top.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

Ain't no money in poetry; that's what sets the poet free.
I've had all the freedom I can stand.
-- Guy Clark
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
2 months ago
256 posts
When not picking tomatoes I am picking Cherokee Shuffle... Robert.
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
@sean-belt
5 months ago
41 posts

The last few days I've been working on "The Oyster Girl Reel" from R.P. Christeson's The Old Time Fiddler's Repertory and recordings of Bob Walters a great Nebraska fiddler who played in the Missouri Valley area of Missouri.

I actually was turned on to it by a video of Howard Raines and his son playing it on YouTube and then found the Bob Walters recording and wondered if it was in Christeson's book, and so it is. There it is played in D. Howard plays it in C. This is not the same tune as the jig of the same name. I'm also having much fun with "Oyster River Hornpipe" that I picked up from a recording of Lotus Dickey (two parts) and another of Megan Lynch Chowning and Adam Hurt (three parts).

Now the question becomes, "Can I play these tunes in months without an 'R'"?

Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
5 months ago
531 posts

I'm still working on building a 00 size guitar. It's coming along.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
5 months ago
936 posts

That must be so nice, Strumelia, to have someone to share your new instrument with. I bet you guys sound great together.

For the last several days I've been working virtually nonstop on Haydn's Minuet in G major as arranged in Larry Conger's book of classical tunes for the dulcimer.  The notes themselves are not too difficult, thought it took some experimentation for me to decide on the fingering I wanted to use.  The challenge, however, has been keeping the timing down. I keep speeding up, making the B part of the tune more and more difficult.  I started using a metronome religiously today, and hopefully that will lead to more consistent pace on my part.  

 

YouTube has lots of piano tutorials and performances of kids playing the tune, but this one seems closest to what it's supposed to sound like.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

Ain't no money in poetry; that's what sets the poet free.
I've had all the freedom I can stand.
-- Guy Clark
Strumelia
@strumelia
5 months ago
1,866 posts

Oooh... had fun today playing music with Brian.  Made him sit with me and my new pear wood epinette and Brian on fiddle, tried out a couple of very simple old French tunes together.  At first we both just played the melody til it felt semi comfortable.  Then I tried playing harmony while he played melody, and that sounded 'almost' charming.  Next he'll need to find some variation parts or harmony while I play melody.  Good thing these are super simple tunes, because on the epinette I can't just use my old familiar mtn dulcimer strumming- I really need to pick drones only on certain notes, sort of flatpicking.  It's a technique I'm not very good at yet, but working on it.  Anyway, we really enjoyed our work session today and made a few sweet sounds in between the countless mistakes.  violin  gangnam1

epinette55.JPG




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 06/18/17 09:31:22PM
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
8 months ago
354 posts

Very Sweet Cindy! Your brother will cherish this.HUG

Strumelia
@strumelia
8 months ago
1,866 posts

Cindy, how wonderful that you are making this music tribute to her- your brother will cherish it.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
marg
@marg
8 months ago
560 posts
Cindy,
What a beautiful project and I hope you can have it done by your sister's birthday but if it's still in progress - that's OK because your love is complete. I hope the dulcimer sings sweetly for you and hugs your soul.
hugssandi
@hugssandi
8 months ago
219 posts

(((((Cindy)))))

Cindy Stammich
@cindy-stammich
8 months ago
60 posts

I am currently working on a project that is very dear to my heart. 

My sister-in-law passed away in January after a courageous battle with ALS.  She was only 53.  Some years ago she had ordered a Ron Ewing dulcimette thru Ebay.  After a while she gave it to me and said "I can't make this thing sing - so here - you make it sing". 

She loved her garden, pond, frogs and birds, and spent a lot of time there.

My project is to play "In the Garden" on the dulcimette that she gave me, and add photos that she took of her favorite things.

Her birthday is April 22, and I plan to have it done to give to my brother on her birthday.

 

RobbScott
@robbscott
8 months ago
5 posts

Worked on some tab arrangements today. Attached is a PDF of Since I laid My Burden Down with notes, lyrics, chords and 3 different dulcimer arrangements. Usually I see tabs for only one style of playing, but I decided to add tabs for three different styles all together. Part of the idea was to show how it all relates together. Also, my intention was to keep the tabs simple for beginner and intermediate players. I'd like feedback on this.


updated by @robbscott: 03/25/17 01:54:00AM
Brian G.
@brian-g
8 months ago
106 posts

Jill - I'm so sorry; I did not see your below message to me until now.  I've followed you and also sent you a PM.

As for this thread's topic, I am working on arranging a great 16th-century lute piece called "John Com Kisse Me Now".  It was a well-known song then and it's quite pretty - a series of increasingly difficult variations on what is, at its core, a pretty simple tune.  It's been a bit of a challenge, but I've got about half of it down so far.


updated by @brian-g: 03/25/17 07:03:16AM
hugssandi
@hugssandi
8 months ago
219 posts

I am trying Page CXVI's "Fast From, Feast On" unsuccessfully...  LOL

ETA meaning I won't be playing this song in church tomorrow night.  no


updated by @hugssandi: 03/24/17 08:42:09PM
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 months ago
437 posts

Hey, Jill!  For some reason we were no longer following each other.  I have now clicked on "follow" and it's pending.  If you need to reach me more quickly than that, try sending the same message but instead of to "gmail" send to "email.com"  Yep--I have one of the original email services.




--
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
Jill Geary
@jill-geary
9 months ago
16 posts

Sorry y'all - Jan Potts, I sent you an email to your gmail - for the life of me I can't PM you. It's regarding KMW. Thx.

Jill Geary
@jill-geary
9 months ago
16 posts

Hi Jan P, I tried to PM you, but I'm not following you anymore? Hmmm. Yes, I'm planning on going to KMW! Looking forward to it!

 

Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 months ago
437 posts

Jill, are you coming to Kentucky Music Week? Mark Gilston will be there!




--
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
hugssandi
@hugssandi
9 months ago
219 posts

"Are You Washed in the Blood"

My 3yos wants to know why there's blood?  So I shared what I could, read three chapters of The Jesus Storybook Bible, and now he's obsessed with the cross and has to read about it fifty times a day, followed by the song!  BOYS!!!  LOL!  (He wasn't very interested in said Bible before....)

Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
9 months ago
531 posts

Ken, I sent you an email at mindspring. I hope that is still your email address. If not, send me a private message.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."


updated by @ken-longfield: 02/20/17 04:33:36PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 months ago
1,555 posts

I got an inexpensive copy of the Anne Grimes book -- cheap, as I found out because it did not have the CD!!  If anyone has a copy of the CD as an MP3 that they would share, I'd be forever grateful...

So now I'm working in The Nightingale (One Morning In May)  I learned the tune from Jean Ritchie's CD but I like the Americana lyrics that Anne recorded from Perry Harper, up in my home state of Ohio.  I'm also working the lyrics she recorded for Gypsy Davey.


updated by @ken-hulme: 02/20/17 10:38:08AM
Jill Geary
@jill-geary
9 months ago
16 posts

Brian G - I have a question regarding your harp dulcimer. I'm fairly inept at contacting people through FOTMD but I asked to Follow you so I can PM you - pretty sure that's the right way to contact you? I am an Early Music fan and would like to concentrate on the 16th and 17th century pieces on the dulcimer (harp dulcimer?) (Not trying to hijack this thread - relating this to the lute video you posted here.)

Thanks!

Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
9 months ago
531 posts

Thanks, Ken! I'll look at some of those and listen to them. After asking the question I found Pennsylvania Songs and Legends in a used bookstore. It has a whole section of Pennsylvania German tunes/songs.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Strumelia
@strumelia
9 months ago
1,866 posts

KenH-  awesome!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 months ago
1,555 posts

Ken -- I just googled the phrase "Pennsylvania German songs and hymns"  and there is a LOT of audio recordings online. Don Yoder and George Britten seem to be two well known Songcatchers   of those things. Smithsonian Folkways and the Library of Congress Audio Recordin have good collections.

Gail Webber
@gail-webber
9 months ago
94 posts

After working on a lot of slower tunes lately, I've gone back to my Don Pedi book and have been working on some nice fiddle tunes in DGd and DAC (Puncheon Floor, Boogerman, Old Time Sally Goodin, Little Betty Ann).  It's been a lot of fun!

Strumelia
@strumelia
9 months ago
1,866 posts

Ken i can't wait to see pix of that new zitter you are building- sounds exciting!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
9 months ago
531 posts

Well, I spent a good part of today working on my latest PA German zitter. The box is together and once I take the clamps off, I'll post a picture. Next step is touching up the sound holes and then sanding in preparation for staining and sanding. Does anyone have a good resource for Pennsylvania German songs and hymns?

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 

hugssandi
@hugssandi
9 months ago
219 posts

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.  It was easy to work out, but I'd love to do it with Page CXVI flair!

James Phillips
@james-phillips
9 months ago
95 posts

I re-strung my mean tone fretted McSpadden and played it for the first time in ages.  Oddly enough, the first song I started playing on it was Good King Wenceslas.  Go figure smiler

Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 months ago
437 posts

Robin, I love your rendition of Red Haired Boy!  It's encouraging me to want to start learning it.  It is played a lot at jams a lot in my part of the dulcimer world and it would be fun to be able to do more than play a few chords here and there, which is all I can do right now.  Thanks for posting this!




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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
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
9 months ago
338 posts

I'm practicing songs my hometown group and I play annually in April at the Cary, NC downtown farmers market. This year we have added something for when the little ones come around, Lavender's Blue from Frozen.

Randy Adams
@randy-adams
9 months ago
124 posts

You're pretty smart Lisa! I started out listening to Hiram Stamper play the tune and the notes say its a song "The Drunkards Dream." Then I heard Beverly Smith's play and I can't put it down. It's like so perfect...perhaps more modern? I have to learn it just like she plays it to begin with. I was trying to learn it and got sidetracked with Tune 91...much easier! Same tuning and notes however... but the songs I make up are easy for me to play...I play to my own strengths.. : )

I remember you said you liked the Stamper boys?

I just don't hear the same melody from the tunes you linked? But the form is similar?

http://community.berea.edu/hutchinslibrary/specialcollections/stamper.asp

Scroll down to hear him play Young Edward

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
9 months ago
38 posts

Think of it as free-form.  These ballads are often sung unaccompanied, so like Strumelia has pointed out, the form is not a fixed rhythm or timing.  The singers are free to stretch out notes or cut them short as they see fit.  When written out, this music often has multiple time signatures indicated within the musical transcription in an attempt to record how the singer actually sang the song.

I suspect this is a remnant of the old unaccompanied airs sung in the British Isles.  Ireland, especially, has many of these unaccompanied  airs.  On a related note, uilleann bagpipe players frequently play the music to these old Irish airs (minus the singing).  The vibrating reed in the bagpipe imitates the voice, extending notes as the musician sees fit.  

In both Appalachian ballad singing and the singing of Irish airs, the free-form allows a degree of expression and emotion not found in music that adheres to a strict rhythm or timing.

Strumelia
@strumelia
9 months ago
1,866 posts

 Randy, if you listen to these two related sung ballads, they are 'similar' and may help you get a handle on what Beverly is doing- particularly with the timing:

http://maxhunter.missouristate.edu/songinformation.aspx?ID=320

http://maxhunter.missouristate.edu/songinformation.aspx?ID=0765

Keep in mind that Beverly is taking a cue from the timing commonly seen used in a capella ballad singing style.  This style uses a very individual and personal 'open' use of repeats and pauses...and more often than not winds up being irregular or 'crooked' sounding, for want of a better term.  Older fiddlers did this a lot too, needless to say it never works for dance tunes, and it's usually quite difficult for guitar players to follow.  I find the banjo more able to navigate quirky fiddle timing better, especially if two musicians spend time playing together.  
I think two of the keys to successfully translating Appalachian ballad style to instruments is to forget about trying to make the rhythm straight in any way, and to approach it from a non chord based angle.  It's like linear story prose.  Think e.e.cummings maybe?   ;)




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Randy Adams
@randy-adams
9 months ago
124 posts

I've bee working on Young Edward as played by Beverly Smith.

https://youtu.be/pltd00D8GDs

It's hard to get in my mind the melody.

Sounds like Lisa Johnson and Brian Sullivan's playing ....it's great

hugssandi
@hugssandi
9 months ago
219 posts

Jim, "Arkansas Traveler" is a favorite of mine, because I relate to the old man in the cabin so well!

Bob
@bob
9 months ago
137 posts

I am just learning some simple cords now. Small steps but enjoying the results blush


updated by @bob: 02/08/17 06:48:26AM
Jim Fawcett
@jim-fawcett
9 months ago
150 posts

I've been playing for a few years now and finally got Arkansas Traveler in my mind to learn. I can even play it noter drone style, no chords.party




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Site Moderator
hugssandi
@hugssandi
9 months ago
219 posts

I love that, D.!  The cool thing is that Urban Doxology is also a Christian songwriting internship, and my son did it this summer.  :)  My tabbing of "Purge Me" is slow going, but I e-mailed and received a chord chart.  Too bad I've never learned how to use them!  LOL!  I guess now's as good a time as any?

I HAVE EXCITING NEWS, Y'ALL!  I have had the TAB to "Pull for the Shore" for a very, very long time, thanks to Jak Stalling(s) making it happen at my request~but I've never been able to play it.  Well I pulled it out tonight and played it pretty well!!!!  ~it's only one of my very favorite songs~  I wonder if it's easier because of my smaller, Wren dulcimer?  COLOR ME HAPPY!

D. Chitwood
@d-chitwood
9 months ago
145 posts

Brian, your videos just aren't the same without a bird hanging from your shirt!

I haven't ever posted a video. Maybe one day. Those songs are beautiful!

Sandi, that's a deep song. It's wonderful to use our dulcimers to express what's happening in our soul. Sometimes I pretend Jesus is sitting closeby and listening. :)

Brian G.
@brian-g
9 months ago
106 posts

I'm working on adapting John Com Kisse Me Now to the dulcimer. This is a fantastic 16th century tune - you can hear it played by the world's greatest lutenist (in my opinion, of course, and this would be Paul O'Dettte) here:

Also, I saw Dusty and jenniferc were both working on Harvest Home.  I love that tune also and had recorded a video of it a few years ago. In case anyone would like to see, it's here:

And Dana - when do we get to hear your For Ireland?  I happen to know it sounds excellent.  ;)

 

D. Chitwood
@d-chitwood
9 months ago
145 posts

I'm working on all of Jeff Furman's Celtic tabs. I get obsessed with his tabs. Just finished For Ireland I'd not tell her name and not working on Gentle Maiden.

hugssandi
@hugssandi
10 months ago
219 posts

I am trying to TAB out "Purge Me" sung by my friend Allison while she was a part of Urban Doxology (you can hear it on YT).  She and her husband are currently in missions in Norway, she is one of my trusted friends, and I am missing her so much!!!  So I listen to it whenever I'm having a hard time.  I have no idea what I'm doing though!

Steven Berger
@steven-berger
10 months ago
88 posts

I practice by first getting a tune or song into my head, and then going at it full-tilt until after the span of a few short years, I'll finally have it down pat.....works for me...whistle

 

Steven

JenniferC
@jenniferc
10 months ago
36 posts
I'm still working on Harvest Home, too. Trying to get it up to a decent speed is about to kill me, lol. Now that I can make it through the triplets, I get excited while I'm playing, thinking, 'yes! I did it!' ...and right then, boom, crash and burn, lol.

I'm also working through an arrangement for 4 equidistant strings of the ash grove on my new fiddleside.
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
10 months ago
437 posts

So glad I saw this post of yours, Dusty!  I was thinking of a Hymn named (I think) Harvest Home, but couldn't figure out how it was a hornpipe by any stretch of the imagination...and 4 triplets in a row?!  So, of course I had to look it up.  I found it in standard notation, which I could follow pretty well.  What a great rollicking tune, Dusty!  You should record it on here and "Call the Tune" and see how many versions we get!




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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
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10 months ago
936 posts

Sometimes practice is a good thing.  I just started working on the Irish hornpipe Harvest Home.  It has this run of four triplets in a row and I am being forced to practice. I set my metronome on super slow snail-on-ether speed and kept working it until I settled on the pattern of pull-offs, hammer-ons, and slides that enables me to play the triplet run best.  Then I played that darn thing over and over and over. It's a single measure in the song, but I must have played that single measure at least 100 times.   headbang  

I can finally play the whole song straight through without slowing for those triplets. Tomorrow I'm going to start again, but if I get it right a bunch of times in a row, I'll set the metronome one notch faster and keep working. Maybe at this pace I'll have the song up to rollicking hornpipe speed in about six months.  shocked




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Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

Ain't no money in poetry; that's what sets the poet free.
I've had all the freedom I can stand.
-- Guy Clark
Steven Berger
@steven-berger
10 months ago
88 posts

I'm working on the "Tavern Song" from the Israeli movie "Salah Shabati", starring Chaim Topol. I really need to practice CONTROL OF THE NOTER for this song! eek

 

Steven 

Caleb Dan Bennett
@caleb-dan-bennett
10 months ago
27 posts

Im trying to learn how to play some chords so I can accompany others

 

Jan Potts
@jan-potts
10 months ago
437 posts

Diana, I just play this in my regular DAd tuning and start it on the open middle string (A).




--
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
dianapalmer
@dianapalmer
10 months ago
19 posts

I am working on "Those were the days." I have always loved the song: its poignant message and its interesting rhythms. I had previously not been able to figure it out on the dulcimer, because of the accidentals. However, more experience and practice has results!

I tuned the dulcimer to cAE. I can then get the accidental G# on the second string. The melody then starts on the fifth fret of the c string. Mostly, I have been playing it with the drones on the bass and middle string. The drones aren't sounding too off. I find it hard to exactly tell, as minor tunes sound a little off to begin with.

If anyone has found a better tuning I would be interested. I guess I won't be able to post it when I play it better, because it is copyrighted. You will just have to imagine it.

Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
10 months ago
531 posts

Way back in the late 1970s Betty and I visited Spring Hill, Nova Scotia and site of the Cumberland Mine. We knew the mine from the McColl//Seeger song as sung by Peter, Paul and Mary. Thanks for reminding of me of that song, Ken.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 months ago
1,555 posts

We had a mini get-away Friday and yesterday.  Drove up to Spring Hill, FL to kayak with the manatees at Weeki Watchee spring/river.  Great trip; beautiful river.   A few too many people for our liking.  Driving into town there was the usual "welcome to" sign Welcome To The Town of Spring Hill, and my wacky brain slipped back more than 50 years and I started singing Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl's eulogy for the 1958 disaster:

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia, 

Down in the dark of the Cumberland Mine.

There's blood on the coal and the miners lie

In roads that never saw sun nor sky-y

Roads that never saw sun nor sky

 

So naturally, as soon as we got home last night, I looked up all the lyrics to The Springhill Mining Disaster, and played it a couple times to remind my fingers of where they're supposed to go.   I'm adding it to my Open Mic set.  This will make lots of brownie points with the Canadians who spend their winters here (10% of Canada comes to Florida every winter, not to mention those who come to other Deep South states!)

 

 


updated by @ken-hulme: 01/22/17 09:36:12AM
 
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