The Ash Grove

A Lesson on Arranging for Hammered Dulcimer by Steve Eulberg

Video 1

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Demo Although "The Ash Grove" is taught by Linda Thomas, in this lesson Steve takes us deeper into techniques for arranging. First he plays through the tune, to familiarize us with the melody. Steve also teaches another lesson on techniques for arranging he calls "Tweaking Twinkles," with several variations for Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
2. Map the Tune The tune follows an A-A-B-A form, and is a plagal tune. You can map this one in a vertical or horizontal pattern. When played in D, G# is a "surprise" note. The B part has a simple pattern that repeats three times.
3. Chords, A Part The chords in the A Part are D, G, and A.
4. Chords, B Part There are typically 3 chords in a song, but this song has a 4th chord in the B Part - the 2 Major Chord. The chords in the B Part are D, G, A, and E major.
5. Extra Chords Here Steve teaches us how to add 3 more chords - the E minor, B minor, and E major 7th. Inserting additional chords adds richness and depth to your arrangement.
6. FIlling in Gaps Steve points out that this is a rather "jumply" melody, so he shows us how to adds notes to fill in gaps in the melody. He does this by playing over, under, and around the melody notes.
7. Hand Separation Now Steve lets the left hand play the melody, and adds bass notes that bring outthe chords with the right hand.
8. Descending Line
A Part
Next Steve adds a chromatic descending walking bass line, He playing the melody mostly with his right hand, and adds the harmonizing walking bass with the left hand.
9. Descending Line
B Part
In the B part, Steve switches things up, by playing the melody with his left hand and playing the chromatic descending walking bass line with his right hand.
10. Descending Line
All Together
This video reviews the descending lines we already learned, and puts it all together.
11. Octaves in D You can also play the melody using octaves. Steve demonstrates in the key of D.
12. Octaves in G The same variations can be played in the key of G.
13. Aeolian Variation If we move everything up one step (or one string), we are now playing in E, in the Aeolian mode.
14. Dorian Variation Steve is certainly thinking outside the box, as he now demonstrates the melody in E, in the Dorian mode.
15. Melodic Minor The melodic minor feels more familiar, while adding an interesting twist to your arrangement.

PDFSheet Music


Music GlobeExtras

  • Lyrics for The Ash Grove

  • Timothy Seaman shares his own approach for this tune on hammered dulcimer, with his own composition as an introduction, interlude, and coda.

  • Sue Richards on Celtic harp and Maggie Sansone on hammered dulcimer play the tune as a beautiful duet.

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