Published by Hal Leonard, Steve is excited to release this collection of much-sought-after arrangements to play popular tunes on the mountain dulcimer. Of the 50 tunes, they’re mostly (vast majority) in DAd tuning, although a few of the songs are DAC tuning. Of the 50, 14 make use of the 1.5 fret.
The table of contents is in the gallery of images, but these are some of the most-requested songs Steve has received. He periodically teaches workshops for students who own the book as their textbook.
From the Introduction:
“The arrangements of popular songs in this book are tailored to the mountain dulcimer and will give you the opportunity to study rhythms, tempos, harmonies and song forms not normally found in traditional folk and dance music. While arranging these songs, I sought to remain faithful to the source material by including as many signature “hooks,” interwoven musical lines, and song-specific chord voicings as possible.
Due to the current popularity among both players and builders, I have assumed the use of fret 6+ (or 6-1/2). A few songs also include fret 1+ (or 1-1/2), and one song uses fret 8+ (or 8-1/2), which is the same note as fret 1+ but an octave higher. Most of these arrangements are presented in 1-5-8 (D-A-d) tuning; a few are presented in 1-5-b7 (D-A-C).
These arrangements can be played fingerstyle or with a pick. If you choose to use a pick, keep in mind that some songs will occasionally require a hybrid-picking approach: playing one note with the pick and another not with a finger at the same time. Left-hand articulations (things like slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs, and bends) are notated in both the standard notation and tablature.
Each arrangement is designed to be played three ways:
- Play the mlody by using only the larger numbers in the tablature.
- Play the chordal accompaniment by following the chord symbols above the staff and the chord diagrams below the song title. Invent a strum pattern based on number of beats per measure (see the time signature at the beginning of the note staff—the top number indicates beats per measure) or listen to the original recordings to find other rhythmic ideas. Use this approach when accompanying a singer or giving the melody line to another instrument. [NOTE: Steve created a First 50 Songs Playlist (Spotify): https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2y7q35WxybvXrTviNy4Jqa?si=7cd30c399205469b
- Play the full chord/melody arrangement as shown in the standard notation or tablature.
I’m grateful to Ronny Schiff for introducing me to Jeff Schroedl at Hal Leonard, and to Jeff for inviting me to arrange these tunes and for encouraging me to seek out and include importatn tunes from the jukebox of my life. It has been a joy to work on this project. My thanks go out to Jim Schustedt and the team as Hal Leonard for making this music available to you!
Play on and play with joy.”
—the author (Boise, 2021)
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Here is the Spotify Playlist I put together to have an audio reference for the songs in this collection: