Erin Mae Lewis

Erin Mae Lewis

Erin is the youngest person to win the Mountain Dulcimer Contest - being only 17 in 2004 when she won. She is part of Scenic Roots, a duo with her sister, Amber, and has been a favorite teacher at the Colorado Dulcimer Festival for 3 different years.

Erin teaches an excellent lesson on the technique of flatpicking for mountain dulcimer players, Angeline the Baker, and St. Anne's Reel. In addition, she has contributed several lessons on the chromatic mountain dulcimer. You can contact her by email here.


Introduction to the Chromatic Dulcimer
In these videos, Erin introduces the chromatic mountain dulcimer and shares some of the advantages and challenges she found when learning to play this instrument.
Chromatic Approaches
Erin came to the chromatic dulcimer from the diatonic mountain dulcimer, and she thinks of it very much as an instrument in the key of D with a few extra notes.
Chromatic Chords
In this series, Erin teaches us how to find and build all types of chords - some you may never have heard of before. She covers major chords and minor, diminished chords and augmented, 7th chords and more.
Chromatic Scales
Erin explains that playing a scale on a chromatic dulcimer is much different than playing a scale on a diatonic instrument - the type of dulcimer most of you own. She has discovered that learning a couple of scale patterns is very helpful. In this lesson, Erin will teach us to play what she calls the forward pattern and the backward pattern.
Next Steps
One advantage of the chromatic mountain dulcimer is that you can use the same chord shapes in any key. Erin spend time demonstrating this in technique in several keys.


Angeline the Baker
Erin lines up her diatonic mountain dulcimer right next to her chromatic mountain dulcimer, so we can see the difference. Then she plays through the Angeline the Baker two times - first, the drone melody, followed by the flatpicked melody on this unique instrument.
Orphan Girl
"Orphan Girl" was written by Gillian Welch, whose musical style combines elements of bluegrass, neotraditional country, Americana, old time string band music and folk into a rustic style that she dubs "American Primitive." Erin captures that style perfectly in her arrangement on the chromatic dulcimer.
Soldier's Joy
Soldier's Joy is quite popular with American fiddler players. According to documentation at the United States Library of Congress, it is one of the oldest and most widely distributed tunes and is rated in the top ten most-played old-time fiddle tunes in the U.S. However, Soldier's Joy was heard on both sides of the Atlantic in the late eighteenth-century. The tune actually traces its origin to Scottish fiddling traditions, and has been played in Scotland for over 200 years.
Spotted Pony
Spotted Pony is a traditional Missouri tune from R.P. Christeson's book, The Old-Time Fiddler's Repertory. Before teaching the tune, Erin talks about her strategy for playing a diatonic tune on a chromatic instrument.

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