Cluck Old Hen

For Mountain Dulcimer Players in D-A-d
Taught by Larry Conger

Video 1

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Demonstration First Larry plays through Cluck Ole Hen. In In Section B, he can makeit sound like the actual cluck of an old hen!
2. A Part This tune is played in the key of A minor, but your dulcimer will still be tuned to D-A-d. Larry plays with the thumb and pointer finger on the outside strings, and the middle string serves as the drone.
3. B Part The B section is the clucking part of the song. First he shows how to use your last three fingers as a capo.
4. The Cluck There are three aspects to the cluck. There is a hammer-on, there's a string bend, and there's a muting of the strings with the strumming hand. Watch how he combines all three.
5. Putting Cluck Together Now Larry plays the B section all the way through, with the clucking sound followed by the measures with the bar chords strummed with your last three fingers.
6. The Whole Song Now Larry puts together the whole song, playing an A-A-B-B sequence.
7. Focus on the Mute Out of all the embellishments, people have the most trouble muting their strings. So Larry spends a little extra time explaining how to do this.
8. Uptempo First Larry reminds us that hens never cluck the same way twice, so don't be concerned if it sounds like your hen is laying a hen! Then Larry plays the tune up to speed.
9. Performing as
Part of a Medley
Larry like to play this in a group of three tunes - all about poultry. So it's a "Poul-trio" of songs. And here he shows how to modulate from the key of A minor to the key of D major.
10. Memorize! Learn to play the tune cleanly before you begin to speed it up. And Larry encourages us to get free from the tab. This is a short tune - just memorize it, from start to finish.
11. Conclusion When you play in public, be sure to include audience participation songs. With this tune, you can ask your audience to raise their hands every time they hear the clucking song.


  • Larry's Arrangement

  • Lyrics


  • Part A
  • Part B

Mobile Devices

  • Part A
  • Part

Music GlobeExtras

  • The story behind the song

  • Listen to the arrangement by another of our teachers, Erin Mae. I especially like her ending.

  • Here is totally jazzed up arrangement by Bing Futch & Stephen Seifert, performed at the Stephen Foster Retreat in White Springs, FL, 2010

  • In this arrangement, Butch Ross plays Cluck Ole Hen using several instruments and the looping technique that he also teaches here.
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