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Questions for hammered dulcimer knowledgeable folks. (Christian?)

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  • 'Merry' Toirdhealbhach Mirywoder Lutre
    So... I m nearing the end of a 10 year project (I hope) of building a 13/13 52 string Diatonic Hammered dulcimer from plans #39 from http://luth.org Perhaps
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 18, 2008
      So... I'm nearing the end of a 10 year project (I hope) of building a
      13/13 52 string Diatonic Hammered dulcimer from plans #39 from

      Perhaps foolishly, I began building an instrument I've never played and
      assumed I could just pick it up like I have nearly every other
      instrument I've set my mind on, but, when I chose the plans to make I
      only wished to play Irish/Trad music and I'm beginning to worry that I'm
      going to end up with an instrument that I pretty much cannot use for a
      great deal of the dance music we play unless I want to just drop 90% of
      the Bb notes in 90% of the music. However, I'm completely ignorant
      about this instrument so maybe I have nothing to worry about. I'm also
      wondering if there are any modifications I can make at this late point
      or alternative tunings I can use w/o bollixing the whole thing up. The
      tuning in plans is as follows:

      _*T*_ _*B*_
      Eb / G# D# \
      D / G C \
      C / *F Bb* \
      B / E A \
      A / D G \
      G / *C F * \
      F# / B E \
      E / A D \
      D / *G C * \
      C# / F# B \
      B / E A \
      A / *D G * \
      G# / C# F# \

      I understand that I can box off four strings on each treble bridge and
      get a diatonic scale

      C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C
      | C / *F *|
      | B / E |
      | A / D |
      | G / *C *|**

      G - A - B - C - D - E - F# - G
      | G / *C* |
      | F# / B |
      | E / A |
      | D / *G *|

      D - E - F# - G - A - B - C# - D
      | D / *G *|
      | C# / F# |
      | B / E |
      | A / *D *|

      But there my understanding of the fifths tuning system used ends, though
      I'm guessing that the same pattern works between the bass bridge and the
      right hand side of the treble bridge,

      C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C
      | G / *C *-* F * \ |
      | F# / B - E \ |
      | E / A - D \ |
      | D / *G *-* C * \ |

      but I don't know the relationship between two bridges is such that the
      jump between the first four notes of the scale and the following four
      notes of the scale are consecutive, but I'm guessing from the lengths of
      the string are such that they are. Is this so? I.e., that the G above
      the C in the following example is exactly a fifth and not an octave + a

      D / *G *|<----- 5th ----- >|* C * \
      D / *G *|<-- 8va + 5th -- >|* C * \

      But still... even if one can get a nice lovely diatonic major scale in
      G, C, F, Bb, D, G, C, F, I'm still not seeing the ever popular Gm scale
      (unless the 6th scale degree is raised a half step, but since raising
      the 6th is a out of period or later period practice and must be in
      company with a raised 7th scale degree for the melodic minor, I think
      I'm still out of luck.)

      I have no idea how the extra strings are used on a chromatic dulcimer as
      I can't seem to find a diagram with the note assignments, and moreover
      the note assignments never specify which octave the note is in, I still
      wouldn't be certain where the extra strings fall into the mix.

      So... am I out of luck with regards to our music, or is there a slight
      tuning modification I can make (or drastic change), or a way to modify
      things to make it chromatic?

      Anyone out there with a diatonic dulcimer like this that has luck with
      our dance music?

      I realize that my understanding of music theory is a big limiting factor
      here and I ask forgiveness. I'm trying to pick it up and put everything
      into a perspective of understanding, but it's a struggle.

      Thanks all.


      // Merry

      'Merry' Toirdhealbhach Mirywoder Lutre
      Shire of Standing Stones; Formerly: Philippe Sebastian LeLutre
      Christian M. Cepel --- 573.999.2370 --- Columbia, MO
      http://Thistledowne.org/ http://ShireOfStandingStones.org/
      ICQ:12384980 YIM/AOL:Bramblethorne MSN:Merry@ShireOfS.....

      'Toirdhealbhach' anglicized Tirloughe (1576), modernly 'Turlough',
      pronounced 'TIR' or 'TUR' + 'low', 'logh', 'lock', or 'loch'

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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