For Hammered Dulcimer Players Only

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Introduction to Modes Here Steve explains that a mode is a seven-step series of notes that can also be called a scale. Modes can be very useful as you seek to play traditional tunes. Steve shows how the mountain dulcimer is actually a modal instrument.
2. HD & the Ionian Mode The Ionian Mode is played by playing "in the box," starting at the marked course, going up to the next marked course. Then you cross over to complete the same pattern on the other side of the bridge.
3. HD & the Myxolydian Mode To play the Myxolydian Mode, begin at the marked place and just go straight up and back down again.
4. The Dorian & Aeolian Modes These two modes are very similar. With the Dorian mode, sometimes called the mountain minor, you begin one course above the marked place and play "in the box." On the other hand, for the Aeolian Mode, you begin again one course above the marked place, but play straight up the bridge.
5. HD & Modes Review As Steve quickly reviews these first modes, he emphasizes that these are the ones you will hear most often in playing folk music, hymns, and music of the Western world.
6. HD & the Phrygian Mode To play the Phrygian Mode, you begin two strings above or one string below the marked place, and again - just stay "in the box".
7. The Lydian and Locrian Modes You will begin playing the Lydian Mode at the marked place, go up 3 strings, then cross to the other side of the bridge, beginning at 1 course below the marked place - making a nice bright sound.

The last mode left is the Locrian Mode. For this one, begin 1 string below the mark, continue straight up 5 strings, and then cross over to the other side of the bridge for the last 3 notes. You might hear this mode in Turkey.
8. HD & the Modes Conclusion It's proper to talk about the modes in relationship to the key tone that it is based on. To demonstrate this, Steve runs through each of the modes one more time.

Music GlobeExtras

  • Hammered Dulcimer & the Ancient Modes

  • Additional Explanation of Modes
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