A DAD arrangement of Turlough O'Carolan's Si Bheag, Si Mhor this time, along with a "Jig-Construction-Kit" for our familiar harmonized descending D Major Scale! Happy Saint Paddy's Day!!
Large Hourglass 4-string dulcimer by Jerry Rockwell. Photo by Mary Lautzenheiser

Happy Saint Paddy's Day!

Turlough O'Carolan (1670 - 1738), was a blind Irish harper considered by many to be Ireland's national composer.  Si Bheag, Si Mhor (the Little Fairy Hill and the Great Fairy Hill) is one of his first harp compositions, and it goes very well in DAD. This is taken from my book entitled Dulcimer Solos 2:

Si Bheag, Si Mhor

Harmonized D Major Scale in 6/8 Jig-Time 

I've been experimenting a lot lately with restrictions: working within strictly-defined limits or boundaries. It is often AMAZING how these restrictions can lend clarity and definition to your musical ideas, whether they be bass lines, melodic designs or motives, chord voicings -- really any musical element you are working with.

Restricting a chord progression to the first three frets of your DAD dulcimer is one of my all-time favorite exercises!! I get to working very hard on the bass line (the notes on the bass string and how they move), and this really pays off in ways I can't explain easily.

In the TAB I'll be sending you to, you'll see the 6/8 or "jig-time" version of our harmonized D Major Scale (the descending form). The chords are restricted to the first three frets initially, then the first four, and finally the first five frets.

It is VERY important that you DO NOT play these block chord positions as written! They are just too boring and static this way, with two chord strums per measure (though it is always helpful to remember that 6/8 IS, IN FACT, a two-beat measure: 1 2 3 4 5 6). Instead, try filling in some of the 8th notes PLAYFULLY here and there, with chord tones from the chord you happen to be on at any given time. You just need to try some of this and see where the music takes you: this is pretty durn close to a "Jig-Construction-Kit" -- but don't go looking to order one of these online :-) 

Here is the article:

Jig-Time Harmonized Scale

2016 Events

Central Ohio Folk Festival - I'll be doing a 50 minute concert set in the main Kirby tent on Saturday at 11am, May 7th. I'll also be demonstrating my handmade dulcimers in the vending area. The amazing Bing Futch will be headlining the evening concert on Saturday!

40th Cranberry!

Fort New Salem Dulcimer Festival

Southeast Ohio Dulcimer Festival (SEODfest) - 10/14 - 15 - 16  I'm pretty sure Butch Ross will be teaching workshops and master classes this year. More details to come....

Thanks for reading and listening!

Questions and feedback ALWAYS welcome!!
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