Breaking Up Christmas
By Steve Eulberg, for the Baritone AND Standard Mountain Dulcimer

Video 1

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VideoAbout the Lessons
Baritone Dulcimer
1. Intro: Baritone MD
Key of A
A-E-a Tuning
This tune is played in the key of A, if you're playing with old-time musicians. Steve gives a little history behind the tune. He adds that he will also be teaching it for both the baritone and standard dulcimer, in the keys of A and D. We also offer this lesson for hammered dulcimer players in both keys as well.
2. Baritone MD
Mapping A Part
The first note starts off with a bit of a hesitation, because there is a half note tied to an eighth note for the first note. Timing-wise, you may find this to be a bit of a challenge at first. Steve plays through the A Part slowly for us. Steve mentions that this is a plagal tune.
3. Baritone MD
A Part Chords
There are only two chords, the A chord and the E chord.
4. Baritone MD
A Part Strategies
Steve has been demonstrating the melody on the melody string in a linear way, but that's not the only way to play it. You can also incorporate the middle string into your playing pattern. It make take a little "woodshedding" to pull this off (practicing a passage over and over until it can be performed flawlessly).
5. Baritone MD
B Part Strategies
A great thing about the B part is that the melody stays within the first three frets. Also, it's easy to learn because the second phrase is the same as the first phrase. You can use hammer-ons and pull-offs in the B part.
6. Baritone MD
Whole Tune
Now Steve plays through both parts, up to speed first, but to learn it - you will definitely need to take it slower!
Standard Dulcimer
7. Standard MD
D-A-d Tuning
Key of A
Capo on 4th Fret
With a capo on the 4th fret, you can now play in the A on a standard mountain dulcimer tuned to D-A-d. The A part starts on the 8th fret.
8. Standard MD
A Part
Using Middle String

Steve demonstrates how final phrase of the A part can be played on either the melody string or the middle string. He also shows that the melody can be played on the bass string, and then it is in the same octave as when played on the baritone dulcimer.
9. Standard MD
B Part
Steve plays the B Part using both the melody string and middle string. It is possible to play the B Part with hammer-ons and pull-offs on the standard dulcimer as well, if you wish.
10. Standard MD
Whole Tune
Here Steve puts the A Part and the B Part together - slowly at first, then he picks up the tempo and demonstrates both a linear approach and using the middle string.
11. Standard MD
D-A-d Tuning
Key of D
If you remove the capo, you will be playing in the key of D. You will follow the same pattern you learned to play the tune in A. He is playing up to speed, but
12. Standard MD
D-A-d Tuning
Slowing It Down
In the last video, Steve was playing up to speed, but in this video he takes it slower. Now we can discover whether it is more comfortable to play the melody of the A Part in a linear fashion or by incorporating the middle string into the arrangement.
13. Standard MD
E-A-A Tuning
Key of A
A Part
Instead of playing in the D-A-A tuning, you will raise the melody string up one step to an E-A-A tuning, and you can play the tune in the key of A. Steve shows two options for doing a "dulcimer work around" where a melody note missing in this tuning.
14. Standard MD
E-A-A Tuning
Key of A
B Part
Steve plays the A part linearly on the bass string, and then demonstrates how to go across the strings as well.
15. Standard MD
E-A-A Tuning
Whole Tune
D-A-d players might be accustomed to adding an extra note on the first fret, bass string, to make a chord. In this tuning, you will not do that.
16. Standard MD
D-A-A Tuning
Key of D
In the D-A-A tuning, your scale lands in the 3rd through 10th frets. So you will start this time on the 7th fret.
17. Wrap UP Steve explains in more detail what is happening when he uses different tunings.
Galax Dulcimer
18. Galax Dulcimer
Key of A
Tuning d-d-d-d
Part A
Steve now demonstrates how to play the tune on a Galax Dulcimer, with 4 equidistant strings, all tuned to D. You have probably never before seen a reverse bridge/reverse capo that slides under two strings, but this is what Steve uses to play the tune in A.
19. Galax Dulcimer
Key of A
Tuning d-d-d-d
Part B
Steve demonstrates another "workaround" for making the tune work on an instrument where you don't have every note needed.
20. Galax Dulcimer
Key of A
Tuning d-d-d-d
Whole Tune
Finally Steve plays through the entire tune, both Parts A and B, playing in the K of A. First he takes it at a slower speed, then he takes off up-to-speed.
21. Galax Dulcimer
Key of D
Tuning d-d-d-d

When you take the reverse capo out, you can play the tune in the key of D. He starts on the 4th fret, the 5th step of the scale. He plays he B Part by starting on the 4th fret again, and it sounds an octave higher.



Music GlobeExtras

  • The story behind the tune

  • Lyrics to the tune

  • Performed by the Kermit Possum Killers on Jan. 6, 2018 (although the text in the video says 2017). The "Kermit Possum Killers" are an old time string band, with members from both southwest Virginia and east Tennessee. This was performed on stage at the historic 1925 Cameo Theater on State Street in downtown Bristol, Virginia.
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