The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #69302   Message #1176119
Posted By: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
01-May-04 - 06:05 PM
Thread Name: Mountain Dulcimer - Jean Ritchie Book
Subject: RE: Mountain Dulcimer - Jean Richie Book
It's standard on mine, because that's the way our old dulcimers were fretted. My guess is that some oldtimer was trying to start the major key scale(Ionian mode to you dulcimerites!) on the first (melody) string, on a mixolydian-tuned dulcimer, and when he got to the seventh fret it sounded "flat'" so he just hammered another fret in, and that was fine because sometimes, that little "wrong" note was needed. Nowadays of course, we know that the major scale, when tuned properly, begins on the third fret (fourth tone, counting the open string note), and we know how to tune to the mixolydian mode, and that scale begins on the open melody string. The other modes are possible too- the Dorian is especially lovely. One can tune even unto the Lydian mode- if there were any lydian-mode tunes to play (will this start the hunt for lydian-mode songs? Someone's sure to start a thread...........)

I dislike having a 6 1/2 fret because I'm always playing it by accident, having learned on the traditionally fretted instrument.

Latest dulcimer news: Sue Trump is bringing out her "Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer," as a book, in addition to the CD of the same title. Should be nice!             Jean