Soldier's Joy
By Erin Mae Lewis for both Chromatic and Diatonic Mountain Dulcimer Players

Video 9: Whole Song

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Intro & Demonstration Soldier's Joy" is a fiddle tune, classified as a reel or country dance. First Erin plays through the tune with a simple version.
2. Map & Orient A Part Erin begins by walking us through a D scale - providing both the diatonic and chromatic fret numbers.
3. A Part, Phrases 1 & 2 Again, as Erin plays through the first phrase, she tells us the fret numbers for both the traditional mountain dulcimer and the chromatic mountain dulcimer.
4. A Part, Phrases 3 & 4 Phrase 3 is the same as phrase 1, so you already know half of this section.
5. A Part Together Now Erin combines phrases 1 through 4 of the A Part.
6. B Part, Phrases 1 & 2 The B Part has a pattern of walking up and down consecutive notes.
7. B Part, Phrases 3 & 4 You will play one note on the middle string for the first measure of the 4th phrase.
8. B Part Together Here Erin plays through all four phrases of the B Part.
9. Whole Song Since this is a reel, you will play the A part twice, and then the B part twice.
10. Moving to the Key of G Erin puts her capo on the 5th fret of her chromatic dulcimer to play in the key of G. You will put your capo on the 3rd fret for the diatonic mountain dulcimer.
11. Mapping the A Part in G This tune uses the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 7th tones of the scale a lot, so Erin recommends that you get those positions on the fretboard securely in your mind. She plays the G arpeggio a few times, and then goes through the A Part again.
12. Mapping the B Part in G The B part starts on the 3rd note of the scale, walking up and down 3-note patterns of consecutive notes.
13. Whole Tune in G Erin reviews how to find your starting note, and then plays through Parts A & B.
14. Moving to the Key of E To play in the key of E, Erin puts her capo on the 2nd fret of her chromatic dulcimer, and on the 1st fret for the diatonic mountain dulcimer. She plays the E scale for us, both going up and back down again, and then finds the notes for an E arpeggio.
15. Fingering To keep from getting confused when she changes keys, Erin keeps her fingering consistent. Erin recommends that you go back to your tablature for the key of D, and write down the fingering that is most comfortable for you. Then just continue this same fingering when changing keys.
16. Mapping the A Part in E Again, find your starting note, and follow the pattern you already learned in the key of D and G.
17. Mapping the B Part in E Erin works through the B part in the key of E. As you change keys, be conscious of the half steps and whole steps.
18. Whole Tune in E Finally Erin plays through the entire tune in the key of E. If you really want to get to know your entire fretboard, she recommends that you use your capo and discover how to play this tune, or even scales, in every key.


  • Key of D with D-A-d tuning
    For Chromatic & Diatonic MD

  • Key of E, D-A-d, Capo 1
    For Chromatic & Diatonic MD

  • Key of G, D-A-d, Capo 3
    For Chromatic & Diatonic MD


  • Part A, Key of D
    Diatonic MD

  • Part B, Key of D
    Diatonic MD

  • Part A, Key of D
    Chromatic MD

  • Part B, Key of D
    Chromatic MD

Music GlobeExtras

  • The story behind the tune

  • Enjoy these variations by Bing Futch on MD.

  • This version was performed by the Dulcimer Guys, Tim Simek and Mark Edelmanon, at Baskin Square in Gatlinburg, TN, at the 2012 Tunes and Tales festival.

  • Timothy Seaman plays this classic fiddle tune on a hammered dulcimer, using a 'rag-timey' separated-hands technique and dampers.

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