Caledonian Club
A Celtic Tune for Mountain Dulcimer Players in D-A-d tuning by Steve Eulberg

Video 1

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Demonstration of
First Steve plays through the entire tune so we can hear the unusual Strathspey rhythm. The link here will take you to an introduction of this cool Celtic rhythm.
2. Introduction Here Steve explains that a a Strathspey is a Celtic dance tune in 4/4 time, easily recognized by the Scotch snap. A Scotch snap is a short note before a dotted note, a short-long rhythm, with the pulse on the shorter beat. In traditional playing, this rhymic pattern is generally exaggerated to enhance the musical expression.
3. Chords Steve has an fun way of getting the rhythm in your head by singing the vocables "PEN-ny NICK-el STOP". The tune uses the chords D, G, and A.
4. Melody in Vocables Here Steve explains the strategy behind singing the vocabels "PEN-ny NICK-el STOP".
5. Melody Slower Steve plays through the whole tune again, so the melody and rhythm start clicking in our brains.
6. B Part Melody,
Part 1
Steve starts by teaching the pull-off again, which in effect gives us two notes for the price of one. This is very effective for playing the rhythm.
7. B Part Melody,
Part 2
This is a more complex section of the melody, using the vocables. "NICK-el lying on a PEN-ny STOP." Steve offers a couple of ways to play it, using multiple fingers or just one finger. You should woodshed on this section (go over and over ... and over it) until you can play it clearly and accurately.
8. A Part Melody Steve begins by playing completely through the B part one more time, and then breaks down the A part meldoy for us. Here Steve is letting the hammer-on technique do some of the work for him.
9. Woodshedding Part A There is no shortcut. To be able to play some sections accurately, you will need to include woodshedding in your practice time. Woodshedding is isolating a section that is difficult for you to play accurately, and going over and over it again until it flows.
10. Woodshedding Part B Now Steve points out a part in Part B that might not flow for you. True pros know the value of woodshedding.  It can mean the difference between having a long, sustained career, or remaining a wannabe.  After you play the hard part several times, you should then play it in the context of the song.
11. Conclusion It is important to practice by playing all the repeats at home. If you skip the repeats at home, when you play with a group, you will probably forget to play the repeats then as well.


  • Caledonian Club


  • Part A

  • Part B

Music GlobeExtras

  • Here is a demonstration of the dance steps that go with a Strathspey tune. As you listen to the music, note the short-long rhythmic pattern.

  • This is the lesson in our Celtic series introducing the Strathspey rhythm for mountain dulcimer players. You might also want to review the lesson on hammer-ons and pull-offs.

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