Guest Instructor: Nina Zanetti, For Mountain Dulcimer Players

Video 1

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Introduction Nina introduces this lesson by demonstrating the beautiful Scottish Tune: Loch Lomond. She talks about why she uses an intellectual and methodical approach to playing expressively, and why this helps in unsettling situations.
2. Aspect One: Phrasing Nina begins with the first aspect of her technique with focusing on connecting notes to each other to create musical phrases.
3. Putting Space Between Notes Using a phrase from the American hymn Amazing Grace, Nina first puts extra space between notes, to intentionally exaggerate the space, before working on how to connect the notes intentionally.
4. Keeping Notes Connected Using the same phrase, now Nina shows how to connect the notes using careful Left Hand work.
5. Using a Plainsong Chant to Practice Using an old Plainsong Chant from the 6th-7th century, Creator of the Stars of Night, using the techniques we would assume with singing to interpret phrasing on the dulcimer.
6. Using Breathing to help Phrasing Breathing is not only something we need to do, but it can be a helpful guide for how to break up a melody into phrases.
7. Playing Smoothly with Chords Now that we’ve worked on smoothly playing melodies, Nina demonstrates the importance of planning using her “hover-cover” technique to think ahead and smooth out the playing of chords.
8. Review of the Contrast: Smooth vs. Choppy Now, for review, Nina demonstrates the contrast between playing in a choppy or smooth way, reminding us to wait until the last possible second before moving to the next fingering position.
9. Review: Smooth Connections/Breaks at the End of a Phrase In review, Nina continues to demonstrate and talk about the importance of matching breathing to how we play the musical phrases.
10. Exploring Dynamics Using the same tune, Creator of the Stars of Night, Nina demonstrates how the use of dynamics (loud and quiet) can further express the melodic phrases. She explores her intentional strategy for this within phrases in addition to throughout the piece.
11. Playing Against Expectation As Nina demonstrates, using Annie Laurie, it can be very effective to use dynamics to surprise the audience by not matching the expectation of playing louder when the melody rises.
12. Playing the Tempo More Freely Using the rubato technique, Nina demonstrates the beautiful, sensitive way of playing by being more free with rhythm for which she is known.

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Music GlobeExtras
  • Watch Nina as she applies this lesson to the Celtic tune, Loch Lomond. (coming soon)

  • Nina also applies the techniques of playing expressively with the Celtic tune, Lord Randall. (coming soon)

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