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Hammered Dulcimer Question

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GUEST,khandu 25 Nov 00 - 06:23 PM
Ely 25 Nov 00 - 06:57 PM
catspaw49 25 Nov 00 - 08:02 PM
Gypsy 28 Nov 00 - 11:11 PM
IvanB 28 Nov 00 - 11:14 PM
GUEST,Arkie 29 Nov 00 - 01:06 AM
John P 29 Nov 00 - 08:46 AM
jeffp 29 Nov 00 - 09:18 AM
Gypsy 29 Nov 00 - 11:11 AM
Gypsy 29 Nov 00 - 11:16 AM
Max Tone 29 Nov 00 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,Lou 27 Dec 12 - 02:14 PM
DonMeixner 27 Dec 12 - 11:25 PM
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Subject: Hammered Dulcimer Tuning Question
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 06:23 PM

What is the standard tuning for a hammered dulcimer? I chose to tune mine chromatically. However, I think most tune theirs diatonically.

The range I have is not as great as diatonic. Yet, I have notes that diatonic tuning does not have.

I am asking out of curiosity, I will probably retain my tuning as it is, because I use this instrument more as embellishment, rather than as the central instrument. (Therefore, I do not need to know how to really "play" it, I just need to know how to play it in my compositions.)

And, do any of you know of recordings (other than mountain music) which employ the hammered dulcimer? Preferably something with a "classical" tint.

khandu


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: Ely
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 06:57 PM

Yes, most of them are diatonic. Sorry I don't have a tuning diagram at hand. I know my mom's has A,G,D, and I think C. Whatever works for you.

Can't help you with recordings--all I've got is Celtic/pseudo-Celtic.


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 08:02 PM

Standardly tuned diatonically with a normal 12/11 having the lowest octave in D, the next in G, and the top octave in C. The bridge rail splits the string courses in 5ths so the right side of the first octave is D,E,F#,G and the left side being A(across from D),B,C#,D(across from G). Bridge caps at the D/A and the G/D are a different look, generally black if the other caps are white. The G of that last G/D course that has the darkened bridge cap begins the next octave in G and the C that is the 4th in G begins the C octave. Normally you will find they have one course below the D thuned to C#(right) and one course above the final octave in C tuned to G(right).

There are other string configurations such as 15/14, 16/15, 18/17, 20/19. The larger course dulcimers are often built with additional bridges to add in chromatic notes that are missing as some notes are obviously duplicated.

That's the "nutshell." Other instruments which are similar, as the Dulcimer is known or has been known in every culture for almost 200 years, include the Santir and the Cymbalom. The Cymbalom may be the highest evolution, generally having 5 to 6 octaves tuned diatonically with many extra chromatic notes included and a damping system similar to a piano.

Virtually every type of music has been played on this family of instruments which are the true forerunners of the piano (you're playing a piano with two fingers).

The true beauty of the Hammered Dulcimer is IN the tuning which is very ingenious. A 16/15 unit with a few chromatic bridges will cover virtually anything you want to play and its a lot easier and more versatile, even for embellishments, than any straight chromatic tuning.

Khandu....PM me if you want more.......I've built almost 200 of them.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: Gypsy
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 11:11 PM

Khandu, definitely check with Spaw before arbitrarily tuning it. Best bet is to check with the builder of the instrument for the tuning. Having played and loved the beastie for years, can tell you that they are not nearly as sturdy as they appear. Changes in heat, moisture, bumps from car rides, all will affect the dulcimer. Be careful.


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: IvanB
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 11:14 PM

As for recordings, if you can find Nick Blanton's 'Ways upon Bells,' get it. Nick has done a lot with developing hammer dulcimer arrangements of Renaissance tunes and does some of the finest renditions of them I've heard. Also, in the Christmas spirit, Maggie Sansone's 'Ancient Noels' is a fine mixture of traditional, medieval and Renaissance music for Christmas. Madeleine MacNeil issued a CD called "Heart's Ease" a number of years ago. Don't know if it's still in circulation, but it has a mixture of classical and traditional tunes.


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 01:06 AM

Don't have any titles handy, but two players who get pretty inventive are David Moran and Steve Schneider. David, presently living in Texas, the National Hammered Dulcimer Champion at Winfield when he was 15, I believe, plays jazz and classical music with ease as well as traditional fiddle tunes and Celtic pieces. He also composes and is an excellent teacher. Steve, living in New York, played the Hammered Dulcmer in a Broadway production, Secret Garden, I think, and his performances with guitarist Paul Oorts are truly experiences to be remembered. Anyone interested in expanding the capabilities of the hammered dulcimer should listen to these two.


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: John P
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 08:46 AM

Khandu,

There is a hammered dulcimer website that has lots of info, as well as sources for recordings. Also, I have several different tuning charts in the computer at work which I could send you as Microsoft Word attachments if you can download those. I'm not willing to conduct work business here at home, so if you want them you will have to e-mail me there.

Hey Spaw, have I ever met you? I've been working at Dusty Strings in Seattle for the last 11 years.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: jeffp
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 09:18 AM

Another great hammered dulcimer player is Karen Ashbrook. I believe she records on Maggie Sansone's Maggie's Music label.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: Gypsy
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 11:11 AM

For the second half of your query....Glenn Morgan, the Borders No More CD, might have what you are looking for. It is stuff that is European, but not necessarily irish


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: Gypsy
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 11:16 AM

John, i love my tristander that i got at your store some years ago! Wonderful being level when playing outdoors!


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: Max Tone
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 05:24 PM

I got a CD of 77 Hungarian dances from a band who'd come over to Edinburgh for the Folk Fest.
Janosi Ensemble (Violin/Cello/Cimbalom) Hungaroton Classics label #HCD 18228.
Rather lifeless recording, but lotsa tunes and local playing.
Spaw, I've built a couple of 12/13s modelled from a UK built old one. Unable to get the right grain of Spruce, or suitable nice old straight grained pine flooring sans nail holes for the soundboard, the timber man flung a couple of boards of Brazilian Cedar at me and said --"Try that!" Sounds great, very springy and resilient, and nice and easy to machine. You ever tried it?
Rob


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: GUEST,Lou
Date: 27 Dec 12 - 02:14 PM

I have had my HD a long time but have never learned to play it good. Now we have moved several time and HD is so out of tune it sounds like everything but a HD, I have followed instructions on the computer but I cannot seem to get it tuned even a little. Is there a more simple way to tune my dulcimer. Thank you so much for any help you can give me.


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Subject: RE: Hammered Dulcimer Question
From: DonMeixner
Date: 27 Dec 12 - 11:25 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf-oBCZ8XFs


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