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Pop Songs for Dulcimers?

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Daddy Hojo, Apr 16, 2018.

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  1. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

    Feb 25, 2011
    Kentucky
    I'm considering starting a dulcimer circle for kids, BUT rather than play "Boil them Cabbage Down" and other such (yawn) folk tunes, I'd like to make the instrument cool and relevant for them. This might be a tall order, but we've got a classroom set of dulcimers (about 20) and I think that this could be a pretty cool experiment. My big question is - what pop or rock songs would lend themselves to being played on a three-string dulcimer (tuned D-A-D) by beginners? My first thought was "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift, but now that I think about it, the verse isn't very melodic. The chorus would be cool, though. Any input is appreciated!
     

  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    I played guitar back up with a bunch of kids learning mountain dulcimer for some charity events. The arrangements were selected by one of the grandfathers. He tapped into Celtic music because of the tuning. I know that really doesn't answer your quest, but might give you a direction to look. It is a wonderful way for kids to get into musical instruments.

    Good luck.
     

  3. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Meister

    Age:
    62
    185
    Dec 19, 2014
    Paris, IL
    I used to play dulcimer quite a bit and did play a few older pop(ish) songs. I still have my music and can look to see what is in my file. One I can remember is Otis Reddings's, Dock of the Bay. Doubt many young folk would know that one. I'll check tonight to see what I have and let you know.

    You might check out David Schnaufer, Robert Force, Fred Meyer and Larry Conger among others. There may be some instruction books by some of these artists. I took lessons from Fred Meyer for a while and he could play just about any type of song on a dulcimer. Not sure if he is still around doing his thing though.
     

  4. wyclif

    wyclif Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 29, 2011
    Philadelphia
    "California" by Joni Mitchell is the first song I thought of:

     
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  5. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    CigarBoxNation.com has several Tabs for 3 and 4 string guitars and a few Dulcimer Tabs on site.
     

  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    This guy does a bunch of cool stuff and here is a very well known pop song (of course his has a p'up and using a full blown pedalboard with an autowah:D):
     

  7. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Try whipping up a version of Wonderwall.
     

  8. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

    Feb 25, 2011
    Kentucky
    Always a hit!
     

  9. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    The first time I picked up a dulcimer I had Joni Mitchell's "Case of You" (I think that was it) down in about five minutes. The woman who owned it was impressed. I'm sure there are current pop songs that would work as well.
     

  10. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

    Feb 25, 2011
    Kentucky
    Thanks for all the input guys. The song doesn't necessarily have to originally be played on a dulcimer, but rather a pop hit transcribed to dulcimer. I'm looking for pop sogs with good melodies that would be easily recognizable (by middle school kids) on dulcimer, but I don't know enough about the instrument (or the tuning) to know what is or isn't possible. Like whether or not it's possible to play a C or an A minor on a dulcimer. I know when I throw my guitar into open G, some songs just jump out while others are near impossible to play in that open tuning. Keep in mind that these would hypothetically be instrumental with no one singing, so the melody or hook would really need to carry the tune for it to work. Good examples of the kinds of tunes I'm looking for - Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes or Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes (although kids might not know that one). Last Train to Clarksville might work too.
     

  11. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

    Feb 25, 2011
    Kentucky
    I couldn't find tabs on their site. Really cool kits though.
     

  12. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Jan 14, 2015
    Chicago
    Whatever you play, just keep it down to a dull simmer.
     
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  13. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

    Feb 25, 2011
    Kentucky
    What has 40 hands, sixty strings, and barely makes a sound? A dulcimer group!
     

  14. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Jan 14, 2015
    Chicago
    I heard a balalaika group once, I'm still cringing from that experience.
     

  15. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS

  16. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

    Feb 25, 2011
    Kentucky

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