I shouldn't interrupt my own thread but Rick, that is the best clawhammer banjo/mountain dulcimer duet I've heard. Thank you for bringing that gem to my attention.
Tips sought for dulcimer and (clawhammer) banjo together
Robin Clark and Nick Reece made a CD (The Cadair Idris Sessions) where Robin plays dulcimer (noter/drone) and Nick plays clawhammer. I have a copy and listen all the time. Here is a link http://fotmd.com/robin-clark/uploaded_audio/385/the-cadair-idris-sessions-track-samples to samples on the FOTMD site. I don't know if he has any more for sale, but if he does, I recommend it. Highly.
I'd begin by finding a Key that fits both instruments well. The banjo is frequently played in the Key of G (Open G Tuning), so a good tuning for a dulcimer playing with clawhammer banjo would be Reverse Ionian Tuning D-G-D, which has the G major scale beginning at the 3rd fret. The dulcimer player could play background chords to accompany the banjo's melody line. or the dulcimer player could play the melody line accompanied by the banjo's rhythmic playing of chords. To hear both instruments distinctly, the two instruments can play an octave apart.
Two dulcimers playing together can utilize the same techniques as suggested above, one playing melody and the other playing chords. In a local dulcimer club, I used to use a "banjimer" (dulcimer with a banjo head) to back up a friend playing the melody line on the melody string. He flatpicked the melody strings avoiding the drone strings, and I added rhythm and chords with the "banjimer". It was simple yet very effective due to the percussive nature of the "banjimer".
The banjo or banjimer can be overwhelming and drown out the melody, so care must be taken to allow both instruments to be heard.
Of course, the two instruments can also alternate parts with one taking the lead while the other accompanies. Then switching parts the second or third time through the song.
You have the option of not playing the drone strings when playing with an accompanying musician. Let your partner carry the rhythm and harmony while you focus on the melody line.
Finally, listen to Don Pedi. He has several recordings where he plays with fiddlers and banjo players. David Schnauffer also had a recording where he played dulcimer accompanied by mandolin. I think Butch Baldasarri (sp?) was the mandolin player.
Hi everyone, I'm hoping to bring these two instruments together. Does anybody have any advice or experience in this field? Not strictly from a dulcimer perspective either, but also happy to hear from any banjo players.
The dulcimer is flexible, all tunings on the table.