For Mountain Dulcimer Player by Aubrey Atwater

Video 1



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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Introduction Aubrey begins by explaining a little about her music background, which included very little formal training. She plays entirely by ear, and has taught herself how to use about 20 different tunings - by retuning, by using a capo, by playing chords only, or by adding frets to her dulcimer.
2. Retuning When Aubrey retunes, at times she breaks strings, but it's worth it because she selects her tuning and the key in which she plays by what's comfortable for her voice when singing - whether it's D-A-d, C-G-c, E-B-e, or F-C-f.
3. Modes: Myxolydian A mode is defined by the series of whole and half steps. The mode is not defined by the tuning; you can play every mode in every key. In this video, Aubrey tells us the myxolydian scale is characterized by the flattened 7th tone.
4. Modes: Ionian For this mode, Aubrey has retuned to D-A-A, a traditional tuning. This results in the major scale, and ionian is the most known major scale in the Western world.
5. Modes: Minor Tunings In this video, Aubrey retunes to D-A-G, for the Dorian mode. The interesting thing about this tuning is that the melody string is lower than the middle string.
6. Modes: Dorian The Dorian mode is a type of a minor scale, and the steps and half-steps are as follows: 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7-8, with an augmented (raised) 6th tone.
7. Modes: Aeolian For our final mode, the aeolian mode, Aubrey retunes her dulcimer to D-A-C. With this tuning, she can play the d minor scale, with the steps and half-steps as follows: 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-8. The minor mode is often associated with a sad or spooky mood.

Music GlobeExtras

  • Be sure to check out our lesson on movable chord shapes. The tablature and animations feature ionian and myxolydian chord shapes.

  • You can find our music theory document explaining more about scales and modes here.

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