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Help music for lap dulcimore

Ma-K 07 Feb 00 - 08:24 PM
Lucius 07 Feb 00 - 08:40 PM
Susan A-R 07 Feb 00 - 08:57 PM
Ma-K 07 Feb 00 - 09:03 PM
Sorcha 07 Feb 00 - 09:23 PM
Pinetop Slim 07 Feb 00 - 09:59 PM
Ma-K 07 Feb 00 - 10:04 PM
wysiwyg 07 Feb 00 - 11:43 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 00 - 12:08 AM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 12:14 AM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 12:15 AM
Ma-K 08 Feb 00 - 08:48 AM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 08:52 AM
Ma-K 08 Feb 00 - 09:05 AM
Ma-K 08 Feb 00 - 09:16 AM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 09:32 AM
Ma-K 08 Feb 00 - 09:57 AM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 08 Feb 00 - 10:18 AM
GUEST 08 Feb 00 - 10:23 AM
Ma-K 08 Feb 00 - 11:03 AM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 11:31 AM
Ely 08 Feb 00 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 08 Feb 00 - 12:49 PM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 01:02 PM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 01:37 PM
Ma-K 08 Feb 00 - 02:11 PM
selby 08 Feb 00 - 02:18 PM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 02:43 PM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 00 - 02:43 PM
Ma-K 08 Feb 00 - 03:13 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 00 - 09:58 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 00 - 10:27 PM
sophocleese 08 Feb 00 - 11:39 PM
wysiwyg 09 Feb 00 - 09:31 AM
Ma-K 09 Feb 00 - 11:35 AM
catspaw49 09 Feb 00 - 11:54 AM
GUEST 09 Feb 00 - 12:24 PM
Ma-K 09 Feb 00 - 01:00 PM
catspaw49 09 Feb 00 - 03:43 PM
wysiwyg 09 Feb 00 - 05:57 PM
Ma-K 09 Feb 00 - 07:35 PM
wysiwyg 09 Feb 00 - 08:08 PM
Ma-K 09 Feb 00 - 08:57 PM
catspaw49 09 Feb 00 - 09:13 PM
Ma-K 09 Feb 00 - 09:36 PM
wysiwyg 10 Feb 00 - 12:26 AM
Pinetop Slim 12 Feb 00 - 08:02 AM
wysiwyg 12 Feb 00 - 08:21 AM
Ma-K 12 Feb 00 - 12:54 PM
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Subject: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 08:24 PM

What songs or music do you use for kids. Maybe something they could learn themselves. I have been asked to play at school. It would be for Grade school and High School in class rooms not Big Show.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Lucius
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 08:40 PM

I am no virtuoso on the Appliachin dulcimer, though I will sometimes haul both that and my hammered dulcimer to a presentation. I use a couple of tunes that seem to fit well. Reuben James is a great kids song, and I've always enjoyed Caledonia (Dougie McLain's song in the DT) for older kids and adults. The music fits the dulcimer nicely. Sorry I haven't used the blue clickie. Good luck

Lucius


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Susan A-R
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 08:57 PM

I do Julian of Norwich (In Rise Up Singing) There's a good Jean Ritchie Book (or two or three) on this subject. Also, some of the Margaret MacArthur songs work well with this. I do On the Mountains Hiigh (Kids like those mysterious or downright bloody balads) The Wind May Blow Your Plaid Awa, Maid on the Shore, Jock Of Hazeldeen, and whatever else comes to mind. Have fun. (I generally tune the upper three strings to the same note, and the base to a fifth below. For Maid on the Shore or other minor tunings it's base a fifth below the middle, and the high strings a minor third above. Hope this helps.

Susan A-R


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 09:03 PM

Thanks Lucius. Thay are both great songs. I have never heard the caledonia song before. The history of the Reuben James was new to me to.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Sorcha
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 09:23 PM

I use the old pre-programed stand by "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie" and "3 Jolly Chaps" for elem. grades. The dumplings can learn, if they don't already know, the verses, and they are fun/silly. If you can work out the fretting yourself, songs like "I Had a Cat" and "Farmer in the Dell" are good for elem. H.S. needs something with a little more drama, like "McPhersons Lament" or some of the other Child Ballads with a little excitment.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Pinetop Slim
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 09:59 PM

If I were going to try to teach little ones, I'd go for "Skip to My Lou" and make it a counting exercise: 5 5 3 3 5 5 7 etc. To show off the voice of the instrument, "Pretty Saro" and "Simple Gifts" are great, but I bet you've already got plenty of your own choices on that count. With older kids, I'd be looking around for some folk song covered by a rock performer that they might be familiar with. Led Zeppelin did "Hangman." An even longer time ago Little Richard did a great job with "Shortnin Bread" and you can do a lot with that on the dulcimer. I wouldn't be scared to do "Wayfarin' Stranger" and give them a taste of sweet sadness. "Maid on the Shore" is one of my faves, too, SA-R. That's a great tip on "Caledonia," Lucius.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 10:04 PM

Thanks again and again and again. I'm having fun.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 11:43 PM

I work with kids sometimes with my autoharp, and my husband and our friends with all their various gear. We find it extremely important to provide them access to the instruments themselves at some point in the interaction. I have never had one misuse or mistreat my stuff when the child is right within the bend of my elbow-- they are so thrilled that instead they are quite still and careful and when they draw out even a single note they just want to do it again... so tenderly, and their eyes shine. I always have to warn the adults first if I'm going to do this, and actually I give the adults the instructions-- which are to let me and let the kids and not hover or act on their worry for the instruments.

Now some of us do have some quite expensive, fragile gear. So I carry a cheap ($50 US) little gizmo Elderly's catalog calls a lap harp, it looks like a tiny one-course hammered dulcimer but is plucked, diatonic, two octaves. (I've restrung it with wound bronze strings, deeper tone, plays Carolan tunes.) They pluck that if we are nervous of our gig gear, and it means more to me than all the applause in the world just to be there when they make that connection into the music for themselves. Once the connection is made they have questions and I answer, but until that point I never try to teach them a thing, just let them absorb the sound they've caused. You see, some of the kids who hear you aren't made to be singers, they're tiny little composers and players and arrangers, little buds just needing water and sun.

I hope you'll be able to connect them with that like we do, it gives them something that can never get lost, they save it till they get the resources to go further.

Sorry, stumbled into one of my passions... should not assume you don't already know this...


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 12:08 AM

The connection Praise just spoke of is more important than the song selection, especially with younger kids. With Hammered Dulcimer, I take one along that's not finished so they can see what its like inside and also have a few "duets worked out so they can play on 2 stirng courses while I play the rest. Appalachian dulcimer lends itself to students, even young ones, quite well and they can play simple songs without much trouble. If you play something they know, and then let a few of them play something simple.....well at that point they'll listen to ANYTHING you play.

One of the best school programs for me uses 2-string stick dulcimers. I pass out half a dozen and we all play "Mary's Lamb." I used to sell sticks at street fairs and if you don't have one, make one...its real simple. What they really do is show kids that anyone can play and sing, instruments aren't intimidating, and you can make some simple instruments out of scrap!!!

Above all, if you look like you're enjoying yourself, the kids will pick up on your enthusiasm and learn some neat stuff by accident.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 12:14 AM

Hi Spaw.

The Canjo:

A stick with an empty soda pop can nailed to one end and a string going from one end, through the can, up to the other end, never tuned. Then it has to be played by an aging and impish Episcopal priest at a "formal" occasion for best effect. Carol Dunham made one and I haven't heard where it went when she died. She was no one to anyone in Mudcat, I would bet, but she was a Wild Woman. Should we not all have a Canjo? What kind of liquid would it have in it and what kind of fish would jump out of it?


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 12:15 AM

Hi Spaw.

The Canjo:

A stick with an empty soda pop can nailed to one end and a string going from one end, through the can, up to the other end, never tuned. Then it has to be played by an aging and impish Episcopal priest at a "formal" occasion for best effect. Carol Dunham made one and I haven't heard where it went when she died. She was no one to anyone in Mudcat, I would bet, but she was a Wild Woman. Should we not all have a Canjo? What kind of liquid would it have in it and what kind of fish would jump out of it?


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 08:48 AM

Thank you Praise. I have handed one of my Dulcimers to a kid more than once and have seen that same excitement in their eyes. I bought a canjo but its frets are different than the Dulcimer and the sound was wrong. Do you still have any off your two stringed duls left? What do you use for frets?


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 08:52 AM

I'ts Spaw that has the two-stringers. Our Canjo must be much more primitive-- no frets. What else have you found works well with children to make it a good experience?


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 09:05 AM

Sorry catspaw49 Are you the dulcimore maker? Do you have any of the 2 string dulcimore left? I have been trying to get my other half to make some stick ducimors but haven't got him to do it yet. Maybe if I had one of yours for a pattern I could do it myself. We work at a living history site and work alot with young people. Maybe we could makeup kits that they could finish and take home


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 09:16 AM

Praise, Last year we had alot of wall dulcimor Brought from home the kids learned Ode to Joy and some tryed some rounds. We had pratice on the practice on the back porch one day and a short show the next. I have a lap harp too. I think I have some restringing to do.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 09:32 AM

Are you still using the ones that came on it? The ones where it's one string for two notes, wrapping arond? I singl;e strung mine and it's much easier to tune.

If still using the wires it came with, try using the fattest bronze ones you can. It's hard to get the right set without getting a squashy tone on the lowest one, but I've used several different ranges of strings and you just have to experiment. I am aiming for being in the key of D to be able to play most Carolan tunes, but that low note is a booger. I get a nice bell-like tone out of one of my two and am still working on the other. Then I want to try a pickup since the tones don't seem to travel far. Although I like being able to take it anywhere and play without disturbing anbyone.

They are wonderful for creating new melodies and playing with harmonies. You can improvise for hours and discover the rules of modes and harmony all for yourself with it. It was made to be a kid toy but it is a real little instrument and can be played seriously.

How do you hold yours? Mine is in front of me triangle pointing up. A friend plays his nestled in his arm, triangle pointing down and to the side.

Anyone else have one of these? Mine is eastern European and came labeled "The Music Maker"-- at a toy store.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 09:57 AM

Praise, Mine is a music maker too and I also play it with the small end out.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 10:01 AM

What do you play on it?


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 10:18 AM

The Music Maker is a species of psaltery, and so is a cousin of the hammered dulcimer. Medieval representations show the psaltery played on the lap, with the smaller end (sometimes having a "hog snout" shape) facing away from the player. Sometimes they show the player holding the psaltery with the strings facing away from himself, but one wonders if this is an actual playing position or an artistic convention which the painters used in order to make the instrument easier to see in the picture.

Ma and Praise, are you satisfied with the sound your M-M makes ?

T.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 10:23 AM

Here are some depictions of the "gay sautrie" being played in the "strings out" position.

T.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 11:03 AM

Sorry to say I have been doing more playing with it than really learning how to play it (lap harp). The lap dulcimore is my favorite. I think I heard it at a concert in Cody Wyo. in the 40s. Didn't see one again until 12 years ago. I've been hooked ever since. We have alot of them around here ( southeast Iowa)) but few players. Some people bring them home from Branson Mo but they never learn to tune them and give up trying to learn to play them.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 11:31 AM

Oh T, those were lovely. The last one in particular seems designed to be held as shown-- cutouts for player's legs...

My Music Maker says it is called the Pierapiloshka (phon) Pierre-ah-pee-low-shkah which is the name of a Byelorussian bird like our nightingale if I recall right. when I play outside birds do coe to see what bird is singing in their territory, and they will answer it if I pluck a birdsong. At least they did with the original high-pitch stringing. These are cheaply made and I think their charm is the immediate access they provide to music and the affordability factor. Throw away the tacky little cards that come with this model that show where to pluck to make a song!!!!! And just play it.

As to tone-- the last time I got one, they had a quite a few in stock. I discovered then that the tone varies tremendously from one to the next. Some are bright, some richer, some just have ugly sharped overtones when the string rings. It matters which way you hold each one-- some make better sound out the front, some make better sound from the back as it resonates. That may be why people hold it different ways in the pictures. And I think you would put out more volume holding it strings out.

I play my autoharp tabletop style, but upside down and tilted at the same angle you'd use for a writing desk. (Strumming toward me.) That means most of the sound comes up to my face and over my head, and when I mike it instead of using the pickup, I hang the mike sort of in front of my forehead. But when I play all-acoustic, I have to be in front of something that will bounce the sound back out to the people or they get just the high tinkly tones and no volume. I bet in medieval times they were pretty smart about that and the players would position themselves carefully in relation to the right kind of stone wall. Our church is heavy stone with a thin skim of plaster inside, and this makes for good soundboarding both behind me, and, coming back to me from across the church when the sound gets that far. Natural monitor for the players, altho a bit time delayed!

The best sound I've gotten from the lap harp has come from good strings enhanced by good room acoustics, such as our wonderful soundbox of a church, so I am thinking a little miking may help, thru the bass amp I now use for autoharp. Not sure yet if miking or using pickup will be best.

I handed mine to a mandolin player once whose instinctive response was to cradle it in the bend of his elbow, strings out, and flatpick it. He thought it needed an accidental added but I find it fine diatonic and I can always retune a note if needed to make a mode work within its little range. I would like it to have about another half octave to make Carolan tunes fit.

Another trick I use with it when playing alone is to declare "Doh" to be movable. I have a band of paper with the scale lettes on it wrapped around it and going under the strings. The bottom string may actually be tuned to F but say I want to play a Carolan piece, out of the book, in D. I slide the band until that F is labeled D and then I can play anything, automatically transposed to F or whatever I am tuned to. Some of the notes will actually be the relatively sharped or flatted note of the letter name, but who cares, I just read the staff and ignore the accidentals of the key signature. That way I can at least learn just about any written melody and start working on how I want to sing it, until I can get to my autoharp and play the chords in the key written. So it makes music study quite portable and I take it places I would never take something as hard to tune as an autoharp or hammered dulcimer. I use a 2-octave child's electronic keyboard for the same tune-learning portability, especially when waiting in the car for teenagers I am chauffering.

I may get another one or two and tune them in different keys if I ever get excited about playing it with others.

BTW, I did try hammering the lap harp but the strings are too close together. It almost worked though, using chopsticks for hammers!


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ely
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 12:11 PM

Old fiddle and banjo tunes or gospel songs: Sourwood Mountain, Cumberland Gap, Cotton-Eyed Joe, Soldier's Joy, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Tater Roll, Cherokee Shuffle, Spotted Pony, I'll Fly Away, Will the Circle be Unbroken, Vacant Chair/Life's Railway to Heaven. Songs that have good melodies and "move"; I find audiences tend to get bored if you play a bunch of slow songs (especially on the mountain dulcimer, which is a great instrument but not the most dynamic).


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 12:49 PM

Praise, I'm glad you enjoyed those pictures. Here and here are a few more.

Have you ever tried putting your autoharp on your lap and simply plucking it with a plectrum (acting as if the chord keys didn't exist) ? I have never seen (or heard) this done, and am wondering how it would sound.

T.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 01:02 PM

I'll have to see the pix later, I am waiting on a work e-mail and can't do the download time, but thank you.

I have no lap to speak of but have thought about melody picking, tabletop.

There are a lot of autoharpers who play melody regardless of holding style, but I believe they do it by chording to eliminate as many wrong notes as possible and then pinching the area where the desired open string should be, its neighbors thus being damped out of the playing field as I like to call the strings.

When I try melody picking though it is with fingerpicks on open strings, no chording, like I play my lap harp, but I always get lost. For me the AH is best as a rhythmic foundation for the rest of the players or, when just me, for singing/songleading. (Our little pickup group is short on rhythm except me!!!!)

I prefer to use voice and to whistle to get the melody across because melody will just pour out of me with no further effort and frankly I am either too lazy to practice practice practice or too wired into the experience of the music to worry who is doing the melody. In our playing, I set the rhythm and dynamic and then sort of disappear into the middle of all the fun. So it isn't the autoharp's deficiency at work.

I do also love autoharping the chords for fiddle tunes, Carolan's, etc. when my husband fiddles or plays mandolin, and with just me electrified it is quite something when we get going. Much richer than the usual arrangements I hear of such music with guitar, hammered dulcimer, lap dulcimer, etc. I would love to add AH to one of those lineups to see what would happen.

AH blues also is excellent, esp. electrified. Effects pedals next?


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 01:37 PM

T, re: pix... I think I see a birthday present coming out of my husband's workshop in May.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 02:11 PM

Wow you guys know so much. It's really great to hear but sometimes I have'nt any idea what you are talking about but I am learning. I play by ear so tec talk is new to me. I have learned more in the last few months (reading Mudcat) than I have in the last 68 years. I mean about music. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: selby
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 02:18 PM

although not a song nonsuch and variations on the tune work well on the hammer dulcimer keith


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 02:43 PM

Ma-K--

I was entirely by ear but now can read quite a bit. There are lots of ways to do it, it doesn't have to be hard or boring or even very technical. Can I help you go where you want to go in learning?

How do you learn pieces now? For dulcimer, are you playing melody or chords or both? How would you like to be learning them? Do you play with other people?


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 02:43 PM

Ma-K--

I was entirely by ear but now can read quite a bit. There are lots of ways to do it, it doesn't have to be hard or boring or even very technical. Can I help you go where you want to go in learning?

How do you learn pieces now? For dulcimer, are you playing melody or chords or both? How would you like to be learning them? Do you play with other people?


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 03:13 PM

Praise, I had a few piano lessons when I was a child. Didn't practice. When I get my first Dulcimor I found If I could find the first 4 notes of a song the rest was there too. I thought that since we don't think of where the next note is when we sing a song we have sung before why can't we play the same way. It works for me. I am stuck in a major tuneing but can play almost anything I want in that tuneing. I have found many chords. My main proublem is I would like to play with the fiddlers too. I play with a small group at a liveing history spot. The others are very good , I think they keep me around because I know so many old songs. We have a great time together,could play all night, you know what I mean. I do small shows at nurseing homes and a few dinners. Small stuff.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 09:58 PM

Hi Ma-K..........First, I'm sorry I don't have anything laying around right now, but tell your husband to take 15 minutes in his shop and he can cut you 6 pieces of 1x2. Take your dulcimer for a length and cut the wood as the same length as the fretboard and peghead. Have him drill 2 small holes in one end about an inch up and 3/4" apart. Drill 2 holes at the other end for your "tuners" (use eye screws set in drywall anchors, so drill the holes to fit the drywall anchors) one hole slightly above the other and again, 3/4 inch apart. Mark the nut and bridge position and the first 12 frets. Take his T-50 stapler and whang in a staple at each fret position offset so that they are only under the melody string.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 10:27 PM

Sorry..hit the Enter by accident.......

Use one long string threaded thru the 2 small holes and inch and a half drywall screws work for the nut and bridge. Be sure when you're done that each fret sounds and if it doesn't tap in the next fret up as its a bit too high......This is dead easy, I swear to you.

Also, probably still the BEST stuff on Appalchian Dulcimer is in Jean Ritchie's books and although there are a lot of fancier players, Jean is still true to the origins of the instrument. AND...I keep plugging this album...One of Jean's sisters, Edna, was recorded by Sandy Paton, a legendary old folkie, owner of Folk-Legacy Records with his wonderful wife Caroline, and a Mudcatter. "Edna Ritchie, of Viper, Kentucky" is available only on their Custom Cassettes and to me is essential listening. It is the most tasteful use of an Appalachian Dulcimer I've ever heard. It truly accompanies her. There are a lot of excellent mountain and trad songs and she does them as they were sung in the Settlement Schools.

And then...just to be pedantic.....I'm always amazed at the things we call a harp! Autoharps are "board zithers," but who the hell would buy an Autozither? The lap harp is a psaltery which is also a board zither, as is the Hammered Dulcimer. The Appalachian dulcimer is a "long zither." Of course we refer to harmonicas as "harps" from mouth harp, not to be confused with a jaw harp (a form of mouth bow) we call a Jew's harp. If you don't like the sound of the word, but like the sound of the instrument, call it a harp!!! Ah well..........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: sophocleese
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 11:39 PM

Thanks Spaw for writing that in. I'll see if I can make one or two in the next couple of weeks. As I don't have a dulcimer, and don't actually know anybody nearby who does, do you happen to have the length measurements for it. Thanks. Again.

Our neighbour bought one the musicmakers for her sons for Christmas this year. They had fun with it for a while until it went out of tune, so I retuned it for her and showed her how to do it. While I was doing that she asked if I had any medieval music as the class she's teaching is studying medieval life at the moment. She was delighted to discover that she had a medieval instrument in her possession!


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 09:31 AM

Really liking this thread and all of you in it. Back tonight or early tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 11:35 AM

Spaw, Thanks,we are going to have alot of fun with this progect. Do you have a canjo? We can't get to the shop today. The other half wants to know if we change to a strait can will it change the sound? We have a pop can on it now. I think the canjo would make a good torch. Pardon me maybe its just my ears.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 11:54 AM

LOL....BTW, I stick a can on the end of the stick for a "resonator".....Then you can also hang it an the wall as a planter!!

You can use cheap pine for the sticks BTW, but be sure its reasonably straight stuff. Banjo first strings work well and are long enough if you have no #4 laying around. Also be sure to set your eye screws in wall anchors so they don't slip and take some pliers and close any gap in the "eye."

BTW...I was thinking one day (rare) and got to laughing over the idea that if you can have a "Courtin'Dulcimer"...Why not a "Courtin' Stick?" So I made one out of a 2x4 and 2 coffee cans and gave it to the friends that I was making the Courting Dulcimer for....It gets lots of laughs at gatherings...They get it out after they play the real one.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 12:24 PM

Here and here are some more pictures of psalteries and zithers and whatnot.

I agree with Ely that good fiddle tunes are also good dulcimer tunes. My personal preference also includes shape-note hymns and some medieval melodies, such as "Como poden per sas culpas" from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, and a dance-tune, "Tristan's Lament."

T.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 01:00 PM

Me again Spaw, You said mark the nut a bridge position. Then what ? I guess it is obvious but my brain is alittle old


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 03:43 PM

Sorry, Mark the "NUT" and "BRIDGE" positions and also then mark the positions of the first twelve frets (or so). You can usedrywall screws laid across the flat for the nut and bridge and you don't need to glue them in palce. That way if your "frets" (staples) are a bit off you can still get decent(?) intonation. Whang the staples in so they are under the melody string only and read the rest of my other two postings...have anymore ?'s let me know.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 05:57 PM

I would pay Spaw to make a video demonstrating this, wouldn't you? especially with all of the running commentary that would come with it.

Then I would pay to see one of us trying to make it according to the instrux in the postings.

But then I like comedy. Think of the money we could raise with a kit!!!! Think of the happy parents all over the world!


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 07:35 PM

Thanks again Spaw. We made one this afternoon.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 08:08 PM

Ma-K, You can play with the good fiddlers either by insisting they go your way and help you learn by ear or you can learn to read, or anywhere in between.

To work with them, and stay with your ear method, I would just tote along a tape recorder and tape them, then go home and get started. The next time you meet, ask for those same tunes and play as much of them as you can and just drop out when they go too fast or you aren't sure where to go, and come back in when you can. Your dulcimer should not be loud enough to disturb them and I bet they will love seeing you go for it. It sounds like they love learning from you and a fair trade is a fair trade.

To learn note reading, have you tried stealing the Suzuki method? They focus on learning thematerial first by ear, without seeing the book, and plays the song by ear at first till they can reproduce it. At some point the book is picked up and the student reads along, and later still plays by the notes. To do this in your situation, there are some good fiddle tune songbooks that come with CD's!!!! And this is how I would start learning to read or improve your reading skills. Read along with the CD as it plays. You will be surprised how much you absorb not only of the tunes themselves but of their construction and musical notation. You will find that in between sessions your head will sort out what you've absorbd and it will be there for you to build upon. Tunes you could not fathom one day, you can read the next. Tunes in major keys seem to come first.

The Wee Sing series of children's music (tape and book) is another good way to do this, with tunes you already know well.

Another tip-- A lot of the fiddle tunes seem to be in the keys of A or D or sometimes G (correct me please fiddlers my hubby is out of town with the book) and their relative minors. Start learning what note positions you are using that are in the scales of those keys. Then when the fiddlers play a tune in that key, you can improvise stuff to play with it that will fit well and you will sound like a million bucks. If you practice the scales and then just play around with them looking for nice-sounding intervals, on your own, then when you play with them all you need to know is what is the position for the first note of the scale of the tune, and start playing from there.

What you have as an ear-player cannot be imagined or replaced by more classically trained people. I had to work hard for awhile to persuade myself and those of that theoretical background that my way was valid too. Once we got past that (mostly me), we started to really have a "whole" approach. The note readers that play well actually just use the notes for a starting point, I think, and their ears take over once they know how a piece goes. You start from that place, which is awesome. Ear people frequently are good natural arrangers, too, and if you get your ear hooked to their note reading you will be benefiting them.

Is any of this useful? Go for it!!!


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 08:57 PM

Very useful. I got a small very good tape recorder for Christmas. It will be eazy to stick it in my pocket and record the fiddlers. I have trouble hearing what I am playing when all of us are playing I think I will try useing our sons old pocket hearing aid and see if that helps. We wear cloths of the 1850s so there many places I can hide the aids and recorder.I hope nothing squeeks. Goodness it sounds like I shoud be working for the FBI.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 09:13 PM

WELL HEY MA-K!!!!! CONGRATS!! You now have a "Dulci-Less!"

Hope it all worked out well for you and you have some fun with it. I used to sell them at street fairs, painted and stenciled for $12.00. When I get back into that again, I'm going to sell "kits" too. Pre-drilled and stapled....You paint it and string it up...and supply your own can! BTW, I'll get back with some measurements for a basic one if you don't have a dulcimer.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 09 Feb 00 - 09:36 PM

Spaw It's my frist dulci-less. I have three ducimers. What do they call it ? DAS? They are almost as bad as potato chips.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 12:26 AM

You guys are sooo cute. Spaw, put me down for a case of sticks. Do you deliver or shall I thrpow my hubby and all the gear in the car and pick up?

We will expect not only a quantity discount but also a semi-discount for semi-profesional musicians, and of course the church discount as well.

However we can supply all the cans you want. I myself have a rather large one I would like to be rid of.

My husband also can bless them. I cannot guarantee this will improve the product.

We also can slay and give last rites to any rejects. Reject instruments I mean. I mean if you call them instruments.

I got the radio working!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Pinetop Slim
Date: 12 Feb 00 - 08:02 AM

Great thread you started, Ma-K, thanks. Am anxious to hear about your progress playing with fiddlers. Is there a player on Mudcat who has made the mountain dulcimer part of a string band who could give tips? Praise: I bet those Carolan tunes sound pretty on your lap or autoharp. Which ones do you play? Sorcha: Sure would like to learn "Three Jolly Chaps,""I Had a Cat" and "McPherson's Lament." Later today I hope to start a thread -- MD tab --with a tune represented by fret numbers and /'s for held notes. It's not as much fun as learning by ear or from sheet music, but it would be an easy way to swap songs.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Feb 00 - 08:21 AM

Markf-- On my autoharp, I play chords accompanying my husband who plays fiddel or mandolin and sometimes banjo. A frequent source, altho neither of us play lap dulcimer, is the book of O'Carolan's tunes for mountain dulcimer, and we play most of those. All the usual ones that get recorded, since we first found him on a hammered dulcimer tape and learned first the ones w could hear. Now his rhythms and various conventions are woven into our heads and we can play out of the big book of all his tunes.

I often go to songbooks for other instruments because chords are chords and what works well for one instrument may be fun on autoharp. There never seems to be enough variety in the autoharp books for me. (If I had the chords for Bach's B minor mass, and a bunch of folkies to play the choral parts, I'd try it!) Also this book came with a tape so I could hear not only how the tune went but also how it had been arranged. Only the dulcimer part is in the book, but we get a lot of good ideas from the arrangements and then can adapt them to other instruments. Sometimes we use the tapes as practice tapes too, and I think that has enhanced our jams because we've already tried various embellishments at home and can play as actively or as minimally as the session seems to need.

Another book I like a lot is a book of songs for pennywhistle, which has provided many good pieces for my husband to fiddle. It also has chords and gave a nice history on the songs, many of which we didn't have in our collection yet. And we don't play whistles but I do whistle and once I've learned the tune I can have a good time with the old kisser and the autoharp cranked up full blast. Mine doesn't tinkle, it roars and whines and twinkles, because I play it upside down and pull the strum down and toward me. Suffice to say that when we have no guitars in the mix it's actually way too much.

So we just don't pay any attention anymore to what instrument the book is for-- we use just about anything that has good material and is well put together.


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Subject: RE: Help music for lap dulcimore
From: Ma-K
Date: 12 Feb 00 - 12:54 PM

markf I have a friend that is spending the winter in Texas. She is playing MD with fiddlers. I plan to drain her brain when she gets home. I won't be around any fiddlers until the last of May so I think I will record some fiddle tunes from the net to get started.


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