Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!
JAN
31

Some simple techniques for hammered dulcimer arranging, part 3

Some simple techniques for hammered dulcimer arranging, part 3

The third and final installment of our series of ideas for hammered dulcimer arrangement of simple tunes brings up yet more significant challenges, but all of these are extremely useful if you want to make your music really sing! 

Numbers 16 and 17 take a bit more focus and practice, but when you develop them you’ll find that in the resulting effect ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts!’

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7416 Hits
JAN
30

Some simple techniques for hammered dulcimer arranging, part 2

Some simple techniques for hammered dulcimer arranging, part 2

Continuing the list of ideas for arranging a melody, here are six techniques you can mix and match to fill out and color and personalize a piece!  Sometimes I stick to just one technique for an entire arrangement, and sometimes I use many of them in a very complex (but fun) pattern of uses, and most are a combination somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of complexity.

7. Arpeggio chords -- chords suggested between melody notes by adding notes that complement the melody, resembling the effect of a fingerpicked guitar.

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15747 Hits
DEC
11

'The First Noel' in a new hammered dulcimer arrangement

When I recorded this celebrated English traditional carol for the Christmas album Hope from on High in 2008, I took advantage of the studio setting to develop it into a creatively enhanced ensemble work, changing keys and lead instruments and rhythms and moods --- on hammered dulcimer, guitar, bowed psaltery, bamboo flute, silver flute, etc. --- to have it develop in the form of the action story of which the words tell.

In retrospect, why did I feel the need to do it that way?  Well, perhaps I intuitively was concerned that the beautiful, fetching folk melody, though quite lyrical, has a lot of repetitious features, and as an instrumental it would benefit from special treatment, rather than merely being played as a tune.

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29489 Hits
OCT
22

Creative arranging

Creative arranging

Sometimes, especially in folk music and pop music, arrangers use a simple formula (‘KISS: Keep it simple, stupid,’ as they say) to present a melody or a verse-chorus pattern, and they make sure that they don’t demand anything significant of the listener.

Well, as a lifelong aficionado of Classical music, which in its best form does demand that the melody and chord structure develop in a complex way over the course of the piece, I crave creativity and depth in arrangements.  (May I say here that much folk and pop music does indeed involve creative arrangement, but some of their arrangements certainly don’t!)

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