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Carolina Rockman

How To Become A Better Dulcimer Player - 8 Harmony

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How to Become A Better Dulcimer Player - 8

Harmony

 

 

What is harmony? According to a dictionary definition it is, for music: Any simultaneous combination of tones. The simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished from melody and rhythm. The science of the structure, relations, and practical combination of chords.

Say what?

For us dulcimer players, it is the combination of melody and/or chord notes that sound good when played together. Have you noticed that when playing at your club or at a jam, very few, people (if any) are playing harmony? I am not speaking about backup chords. It is my belief that in order to be a well rounded dulcimer player, you have to be able to and be willing to play harmony.

Playing harmony is more difficult than playing melody. Unless you have a good memory for all the harmony notes and chords in a song, you will have to rely upon the written harmony tab for that particular song. This requires the ability to look at the harmony tab and play the notes with or without looking at your dulcimer fret board. It is easy to get lost.

There are few hard and fast rules governing harmony. I believe that harmony played lower than the melody sounds really good. That is not always possible. Harmony can overpower the melody if there are more people playing the harmony than the melody. Or, let us say, that those playing the harmony are playing louder than those playing the melody; or that two people are playing the song; one melody and one harmony. The harmony should be played softer than the melody.

Playing a harmony part when there are two or more players present will enrich your musical presentation. Harmony is not an exact science. It all boils down to what sounds good to the ear.

I have attached examples of playing harmony for the song “Amazing Grace”

A PDF file for the melody and harmony.

A PDF file for the harmony only.

A MIDI file for the melody and harmony.

A MIDI file for the harmony.

Amazing Grace - Melody and Harmony.pdf Amazing Grace - Harmony2.pdf Amazing Grace - Melody and Harmony.mid Amazing Grace - Harmony2.mid

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