Visually on the hammered dulcimer the "shape" of a three-note chord (a triad) is often a triangle, with the "vertices" the places where the hammers strike.

Around 1990, as a relatively new player, I wanted to practice playing triangles in a repeating right-left-right-left pattern, so one evening I started near the top of the dulcimer and played the E minor chord then moved down to the next position (G major) and continued downward in this way till an even number of measures seemed to call for a change. I inserted a few other figures as part of this for interest (moving up a note for a moment, etc.), but the pattern was basically straightforward as a triangle study.

This then became my first official composition, an etude (French for "study") for hammered dulcimer!

The remaining section of the melody is a series of "flams," four-note chord rolls (L-R-L-R zigzag), single notes, and a quick downward leapfrogging pair of grace notes for the ending. So this etude gives the player some practice in at least a few things: Besides playing the repeating triangular shapes, there is lots of room for emphasizing certain notes and crafting the rubato (speed fluctuations) and volume swells for expression; also chord rolls and flams need to be done in a way that enhances the "storytelling" nature of the flow.

Originally I played the same notes a second time an octave lower, thus using the right side of the treble bridge combined with the bass bridge for an adaptation of the pattern in a different area, and then actually playing the final phrase in the upper register just as in the first time; but in this performance I chose instead to move down to begin the pattern with the B minor chord and finish at what would be the lowest strings of a 16/15 model of dulcimer. (My dulcimer here is a Dusty Strings D600, a 19/18.)

For basic sheet music of the notes, here's a .pdf: a-Midwinter-Etude_20130901-033158_1.pdf