Anyone here experimenting with using the dulcimer's drone strings and chord intricacies to use it as a rhythm instrument to support fiddle or mandolin?
Don't get me wrong - I like the combination of chording and picking out the melody line (and am working diligently to get better at it!). I'm also well up to learning to play the instrument on Celtic ceilidh music - but am equally interested in stretching the dulcimer beyond a parlour instrument or in an americanan context but as:
: a 'choppy' reggae-style guitar accompaniment : a bagpipe-like drone : heavy metal (I'm trying to mimic the Dave Davies' guitar riff from the Kinks "You really got me" - if you've done this exactly, save me some time and tell me!
On the latter, if you know Leon Rosselson's "World Turned Upside Down" - experiment with fretting the melody on dd strings but sliding the notes with a pencil whilst strumming a rhythm .
I understand that there are people out there who use jazz tunings etc. - but have yet to find websites or lists that explore stretching things that way
HI Alastair, I use a lot the drone effects of the bass string on my hackbrett. But then I have very low, wound bass strings (see the hackbrett strings layout thread on this site). They have a very long sustain, so to give a drone-like effect I just hit them some times, usually on the down-beats, and leave the sustain. But I also use them with a rythmical effect : I play a rythm pattern on the drone string, whilst playing the melody with the other hammer. I often use the felt side for the bass, and the wood for the melody (with hackbrett you can turn your hammers very fast, passing from felt to wood and vice-versa). I do a few tunes with a rythmic and melodic pattern on the basses : the right hand doing the pattern, the left the melody... I tried the Blues Brother's theme long ago.... you need to practice a lot the dissociation of the hands, though. It's a thing the chinese yang quin players do a lot, playing a melody with one hand (even very fast), and a counter melody with the other hand...
your start touches me, cuz i do just that. himself plays mandolin. am getting more adept at doing chords for reels, and waltzes, even polkas. REALLY adds a nice texture to the band. Also gives me something a little different to do, when i get bored. or don't know the tune. still haven't worked out the rhythm for jigs, tho.
I do a lot of backing - actually, the swiss appenzeller style is mainly backing the melody. And you can listen to what the cymbalum players do : they have developped quite a lot of - how'd you say it in english - riffs ? - for backing with about every kind of melody : jig time, reel time, and so on. Of course they play a bit fast, so I use software like Transcribe or Amazing Slowdowner to hear everything. Afterwards, I try to change the melodic backing so it fits more western music (if you use what they play, it sounds immediately balkanic...) If I have time, I'll try to post one or two of these "riffs" on this forum (but I'm afraid it'll be in dots...)