Weeping Dulcimer?

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Weeping Dulcimer?

Postby hcknbrgr » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:22 am

If you were to make a dulcimer weep (say with longing, not grief), how would you do that? What skills, what notes, etc would you play? Youtube examples would be great!

Thanks,
Greg
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Re: Weeping Dulcimer?

Postby dholeton » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:50 am

Greg
Weeping might be difficult for plucked or hammered instruments, but I'll offer some suggestions.

I think a chord progression with minor chords might be something you can try. I'll suggest Em, Bm, A as a chord progression.
Play the Em as E G B G - E G B G
Play the Bm as D F# B F# - D F# B F#
Play the A as C# E A E - C# E A E

Play the progression slowly for a while several times, then add some notes by changing the last note to two quick notes while changing from the Em to the Bm.
E G B G - E G B F# G / D F# B F# - D F# B E D / C# E A E - C# E A E

I flat pick this on a mountain dulcimer and it at least sounds sad or emotional, so maybe it will sound the same on a hammer dulcimer. If you like this technique, find a place for it in between phrases or verses on a song.

Tangerine has lots of minor chords. Also, listen at 2:39 where the guitar is pulling off some notes.


Mountain dulcimer players might be able to slide or pull off to a lower note on the same string to try to imitate something similar to that sound. I've seen some hammer dulcimer players take their left hand and push on the strings for a given note, hit the note with the right hand, then ease off the note with the left hand. The left hand presses on the strings on the side of the bridge for those strings so as not to dampen the note. This would be similar to the whammy bar on an electric guitar.

Otherwise, maybe you have a friend who plays fiddle, flute, or bowed psaltery. The friend plays single notes of each chord while you play the melody for a given tune. Minor chords will give more effect and some notes similar to the Em Bm A chord progression above might work.

Finally, pick a sad song, especially one that maybe people know has the word "weep" in it. This version of "Black Is The Color" has lyrics "I go to the Clyde for to mourn and weep". Also, before the bowed psaltery plays the melody, it is just playing a note of each chord while the dulcimer plays the melody.



Many of us have a sound we would like to find and struggle to find it. Some of us still haven't found that sound. Let us know if any of these work for the sound you're trying to find.

Dave
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Re: Weeping Dulcimer?

Postby hcknbrgr » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:39 pm

Dave,
Wow! Thank you for your detailed reply. I'll need to work through what you wrote to see where that takes me. I enjoyed your playing on Black is the Color. Nice mix with the bowed psaltery.

I am working on "As the Deer". I started trying to simply improve my dynamics, and got it sounding pretty good, and then I thought, what would I need to do to make this song weep with longing, so that is where the question arose from. But it seemed like a good general question as well, how to get beyond the music and into the deep emotion of the instrument.

Greg
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Re: Weeping Dulcimer?

Postby hcknbrgr » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:00 pm

This is what I have so far, I was just wanting to put the longing in the last chorus.


Greg
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Re: Weeping Dulcimer?

Postby dholeton » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:52 pm

Thanks Greg

When I first saw your comment of As The Deer, I thought you were thinking of As The Deer Longs (a. k. a. Water Is Wide). I've probably been on some other planet since I never heard As The Deer until today.

What you have so far sounds real good. I don't think anything I've suggested will make it weep. Right now your version is peaceful. I reviewed the first page of the sheet music and there might be an opportunity to change some major chords to minor chords. Minor chords would be about the only thing I could think of trying in order to add more feeling (or a different feeling).
I found a version in C and saw the chords for the first few lines. The chords were C G Am C/E F G C Am G for the first phrase As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after you. I tried that phrase with C Em Am Em F Em G (skipped the last two chords). I tried the second phrase C Em Am Em F G C. It gives it a different feel, but I'm not sure if it's what you're trying to find.

Otherwise, what you have is beautiful.

Dave
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Re: Weeping Dulcimer?

Postby cat » Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:53 pm

Klezmer, gypsy, balkan stuff, gaelic/istm slow air, ..
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