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Carolina Rockman

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  1. Tabledit file for finger positions and economy of motion. Finger Placement.pdf
  2. How To Become A Better Dulcimer Player - Part - 19 Finger Positions and Economy of Motion In my first article on “How to Become A Better Dulcimer Player - Part 1”, I briefly touched on the subject of finger positioning. A big impediment to smoother dulcimer playing is not using economy of motion and misplaced finger positioning. Are finger positions written in stone? Absolutely not; however, there are those combinations of finger positions that will result in economy of motion and smoother playing. As stated before, our instrument usually does not have much sustain or volume. One way to counteract this is to attempt to leave one or more fingers down on the current melody note/chord while moving on to the next melody note/chord. This is not always possible; however, it will work a large percentage of the time. I have attached a PDF file that I created using an example of the 1st fret on our instruments. You are essentially creating a barre chord with your index-middle-ring fingers to achieve your economy of motion. You then lift a finger or not and add your thumb to reach other notes. It is usually possible to reach up to the 4th fret with your thumb. The techniques are applicable at each fret as you move up the fret board of your instrument. If you are fortunate to have long fingers, you usually can move your index finger on the bass string 3 frets, i.e. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd frets. The same holds true as you move up the fret board. If you do not have long fingers, use your thumb on the bass string where indicated. My example is by no means complete for every possible finger combination. It it but a starting point to improve your playing. Finger Placement.pdf
  3. You can play the bass part on a standard dulcimer. Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Melody and Bass.pdf Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Melody and Bass.mid
  4. In order to be a counter-melody, the music not only has to harmonize with the melody, but must also be able to stand on its own as a melody. God Of Our Fathers 2 parts.pdf God Of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand Melody and Counter Melody.mid
  5. In order to be a counter-melody, the music not only has to harmonize with the melody, but must also be able to stand on its own as a melody.
  6. Boil Them Cabbage - Counter Mel.pdf Boil Them Cabbage - Counter Melody.mid
  7. Even if you play a lot, your dulcimer strings should last a long time. What happens after a period of time is that your strings will oxidize. All metals oxidize, even gold. Yes, gold does oxidize. In order to clean oxidation off of your strings, get yourself a Scotch Brite pad. Cut it in half. Use one half and store the other. Gentle wipe each of your 3(4) strings back and forth a few times to remove the oxidation. Use a soft cloth to remove any residue left on the strings. You might have some green fuzz on your fret board. Get yourself a stick of Fast Fret. Run the Fast Fret back and forth a few times on each string. Your strings should now sound a lot brighter than before.
  8. How to Become A Better Dulcimer Player 15 Adding Variety To Your Playing There are a number of ways to add variety to your solo and/or group dulcimer playing. i.e. playing a harmony; playing backup chords; playing a counter melody; playing a bass part. For this article we will concentrate on playing our melody on a combination of the melody and bass strings. As you know, the notes are the same on both your melody and bass strings when you are tuned to DAD, CGC, GDG, etc. They are one octave apart. When playing songs that you already know, trying mixing up the song by playing part of the melody on the melody string and part of the melody on the bass string. This works best on those songs where you can use drone notes. One method that I like to use is playing the song, as written, all the way through. The second time you play it, try playing one or more measures within the song by flipping the melody notes to the bass string. I have posted one of my arrangements of “Shortnin’ Bread” on this Everything Dulcimer as an example of how you can mix up your melody. Another way of adding variety to your playing is not to play the song the same way each time you play it through. Twenty years ago, Steve Seifert introduced me to “up neighbors” and “down neighbors”. These are notes that are usually one note higher or lower than your melody note. Within a song if you have a quarter note, you can play it twice as an eighth note or play the first eighth note as written and play the next note, one note higher or lower. ie. In your song with quarter notes you have these notes: 1-2-3-4. Try mixing it up by playing 1-1, 2-3, 3-2, 4-5, etc. There are no correct combinations. Same thing with eighth notes. i.e. 4-4, 5-5, 3-3. Try changing to 4-3, 5-4, 3-4, etc. What you are achieving is a variety in your playing by not playing the song the same way each time that you play it. Additionally, if you have a single note within your tab, try adding some drone notes to it. This article is but the “tip of the iceberg” when adding variety to your playing. Perhaps my thoughts will help you to become a better dulcimer player. The bottom line is: If it sounds good, play it! Shortnin' Bread2.pdf
  9. Shortnin' Bread2.pdf
  10. Key of D version easier to play. Key of G version easier to sing. In the Good Old Summer Time - D.pdf In the Good Old Summer Time - D.mid In the Good Old Summer Time.pdf In the Good Old Summer Time mid.mid
  11. How To Become A Better Dulcimer Player - 12 Bending Notes The majority of the songs that we dulcimer players play are usually straight forward and do not require, either a 1½ fret or the bending of one or more notes to achieve a sharp or a flat note. In order to play most contemporary music and some hymns, there are two things that you will need to have. The first is a 1½ fret. The second is the ability to be able to bend notes. Most dulcimer players are uncomfortable when they see a + sign following a note. It is really no big deal. I will tell you how I bend notes. It may or may not work for you. If the note to be bent is on the melody string, I usually use my thumb on the required fret and push inwards. If the note to be bent is on the middle or bass strings, I use my middle or index finger to pull the string(s) towards me. Pushing/pulling should be done as close to and next to the fret wire. You will find that when we have to bend notes, the most common are: D# on the melody string. It is difficult to bend the string that low on the fret board so we bend the string at the third fret, middle string, which gives us our D# G# on the melody string. You can bend the string at the third fret, melody string or go up to the 6½ fret on the middle string for a G#, no bend involved. A# on the melody string. You bend the note at the fourth fret, melody string. If it is an A# on the middle string, you go to the bass string, fourth fret and bend the note there. You can see the value of knowing your fret board. Each note that we play can be played on any of our three strings Go to the tab section of this website to find my arrangement of “The Old Rugged Cross” There are two sharped notes in the song that are normally not seen in the Key of D. That is a G# and an A#. The use of a 1½ fret is not required for this song. To play the G#, you can bend the melody string at the third fret or go to the middle string 6½ fret with no bend involved. To play the A# you will bend the fourth fret on the melody string. Hopefully these techniques will help you in How To Become A Better Dulcimer Player.
  12. The Old Rugged Cross.mid The Old Rugged Cross.pdf
  13. What I did not include in the article is that in group play, intros are very important, not so much for an audience(if there is one), but to have all people in the group know when to join in and at what tempo.Outros are more for solo play than group play. The bottom line is whatever works.
  14. The G as well as all pentatonic scales are the same no matter what the tuning. If one is tuned to other than DAD, i.e. DGD, CGC, etc. the scale notes are the same; however, they will be on different frets than those in DAD tuning.
  15. Not having an introduction is really no problem. "4 potatoes" and "1-2-3-4" work well. The beauty of our dulcimer world is that nothing is written in stone. Our fellow players are generous with their knowledge and time. My philosophy has always been, "If it works, use it!"
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