Two Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

This time we’ll have a go at some variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I’ve been improvising over this one for decades, and it’s always fun. When you’re doing variations on a well-known folk melody like this, the process is a little “tighter” than improvisation: you are working with some of the main pitches that the original melody has, but you are connecting them with passing tones, sometimes moving them around a bit in the…
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The Dulcimer Capo and How It Works

  Dulcimer capos are interesting devices, because they work very closely with the modal nature of the mountain dulcimer’s mostly diatonic fretboard. I had an GREAT question from one of my email newsletter subscribers recently: “I am intrigued by the notion of using a capo on my dulcimer as you mention in your recent post. As far as I can make out, this enables you to achieveĀ  the melody scale for Dorian mode without retuning?…
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Other Instruments with Diatonic Fretboards

I’m curious about what other dulcimer players and builders think about the whole range of dulcimer-like diatonic instruments that you basically strap on and play underneath like a guitar. There are some interesting new instruments that have gotten on my radar recently: http://seagullguitars.com/seagull_merlin.html http://www.folkcraft.com/druid-moon-dulcileles.html …and of course the well-known McNally Strumsticks, which have been around for a LONG time: http://www.strumstick.com/ …and then the Olympia Dulcimer Company with their “walkabout” dulcimers (I have a bit of…
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