Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!
FEB
09

'All Through the Night' using hammered dulcimer chord rolls

'All Through the Night' using hammered dulcimer chord rolls

There are many different ways we can arrange an exquisitely slow melody! 

One option is to mix and match all sorts of techniques for a colorful and interesting presentation.

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7537 Hits
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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7568 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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15884 Hits
JAN
29

Some simple techniques for hammered dulcimer arranging, part 1

Some simple techniques for hammered dulcimer arranging, part 1

When I start to play a new solo tune on the hammered dulcimer, I tend to look right away for approaches I can take that will make it my own: arranging so it says something I want it to say.

Usually I start simply: either choosing a slow and simple but exceptional melody, or I take a faster one and slow it down a bit to make room for adding arrangement details.  (Faster tunes can be arranged with lots of colorings and special details too, but often I do choose to work with a slower melody line that allows lots of room for additions.)

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9536 Hits
SEP
16

'Wondrous Love' on the hammered dulcimer with drones

Some Appalachian folk hymns have a powerful, stark, droning nature; perhaps the most well-known and effective of these is ‘Wondrous Love’, and it’s included in many modern hymnals with hollow harmonies reminiscent of the old shape-note books.

How does one arrange for this strong Dorian-mode melody when playing it solo on the hammered dulcimer?  I’ve always loved the shifting minor and major chords in some versions of it (see one possible set of modern chording in the lead sheet I’ve included here: Wondrous-Love-in-Edor-F.pdf), and it certainly is compelling when played as a melody only, solo a capella --- but I’ve opted to do only the stark, harmonized sound when I play it solo, and usually I play only one verse, letting the hymn be an introduction to another, contrasting, piece in a medley.

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26791 Hits

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