Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!
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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15696 Hits
NOV
14

'Silent Night' for hammered dulcimer using 'thirds' harmonies

One of the great Christmas carols --- perhaps the most beloved of all --- is ‘Silent Night’, which was written by Franz Gruber in 1818 using a guitar when the church organ wasn’t working.

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26203 Hits
AUG
30

Midwinter Etude for hammered dulcimer

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.

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15299 Hits
APR
19

The scale, the melody, the chords, and time!

The scale, the melody, the chords, and time!

Often people think of music design as a mysterious, arcane art that can only be done by gifted geniuses who just have a special knack --- or, alternatively, that new music (improvisation or composition) can be made only by highly trained technical experts.  Not really!  There are only a few basic concepts that make it all come together, and here's what I've seen as a lifelong improviser:

1) Everything in normal "tonal" music is built out of a diatonic (do-re-mi) scale: seven scale steps in an octave, and nothing more.  In elementary school music or elsewhere I hope you've gotten the chance to hear that that scale is a "whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step," easily seen in the key of C on the piano.

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28925 Hits

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