Timothy's Blog

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

Emphasizing harmonic 'inner voices'

Emphasizing harmonic 'inner voices'

Do you know what the letters ‘SATB’ mean?

That’s the shorthand for the common choir and hymnal arrangements in which there are four parts for the four ranges: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.

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The folk hymn 'Behold the Lamb of God' for solo hammered dulcimer

The folk hymn 'Behold the Lamb of God' for solo hammered dulcimer

Back in the late 1980s when I was excitedly collecting melodies from old folk hymn books, especially George Pullen Jackson’s scholarly books and the actual shape-note hymnals such as The Original Sacred Harp and The Southern Harmony (in those the tune is in the tenor, by the way), one of the hymns that really caught my attention was ‘Behold the Lamb of God’ --- and I made a ‘lead sheet’ for it in a singable, playable key. 

But I’ve never made an arrangement of it for hammered dulcimer until now, when I turned the camera on and explored ways of making it sing on the instrument without the words but with the words in mind.

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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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