MusEdit Features - Dulcimer

Using MusEdit for... Dulcimer Notation

(for tips on start using MusEdit for Dulcimer notation, please see Using ME for Dulcimer)

The Dulcimer has several features which make it unique as a fretted instrument:

1) Unlike guitars and most other stringed instruments, the frets on most dulcimers are spaced for a diatonic scale, rather than at every semi-tone interval.  This means that compared to a guitar, there are "tone gaps" between some of the frets

2) Different dulcimers might have different fret intervals.  For example, a "traditional" dulcimer has frets only on the diatonic scale.  More modern dulcimers often have a "6+" or "6" fret added.  More advanced dulcimers might also have a "1+" (and the corresponding "8+") fret.

3) TAB notation for dulcimer with 6+ (and possibly 1+) frets often uses "6+" notation, so instead of naming the frets sequentially (as on a guitar):
                0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,...
fret positions for the Dulcimer are usually named like this:
                0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6+, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 13+...  
or if there is a "1+" fret on the instrument:  
                0, 1, 1+, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6+, 7, 8, 8+, 9,... 

4) Dulcimers might have 3, 4, or even 5 strings, many different tunings, and often two or more of the strings will be tuned in unison.

The good news is that MusEdit can handle all of these unique features of Dulcimer notation!

Diatonic and Other Fret Intervals

    MusEdit can handle virtually any tuning for all instruments with 2 - 8 strings, but it can also handle non-sequential fret intervals, as you can see from this example of the "Tab Tuning Dialog", which is used to set the tuning of tab and chord lines:

This dialog lists some of the "built-in" Dulcimer tunings available in MusEdit, but you can also create any tuning of your own, including tunings with more exotic fret intervals.  The tuning and fret interval information affects all of MusEdit's features, including Midi playback, translation to/from treble, fret position shifting, and translations to Tab for other tunings and instruments.  As you can see from this sample of the tab tuning dialog, Dulcimer tab can have 3, 4, or more strings, and, as in the example tuning above (strings 3 and 4), two or more of the strings can be tuned in unison. 

Using "+" Notation on Dulcimer Tab

    With MusEdit you have the option to enter tab with "+" notation, or using sequential fret numbering.  Here is an example of Tab with "+" notation, and the same Tab written with sequential numbering:

Some Examples of Dulcimer Notation with MusEdit

Basic Tablature

    Here is a basic tune shown in Tab (like all the following examples, this is an image captured directly from MusEdit as it appears on the screen):


Mutual Translation (Treble and Tab), with Lyrics

    In this example, a "line group" was set up with Treble, Lyrics, and Tab.  Music could be entered into either the Treble or the Tab line and it would be automatically translated and entered into the other line.  After the music was entered the lyrics (in a nice looking font) were added:

Chord Charts

    MusEdit's Chord Designer can be used to create chords for any instrument with 2 - 8 strings, in any tuning, and with almost any fret intervals.  Here is an example of chords for a Dulcimer in GGC tuning, with no 6+ fret:

Other Notation Abilities

    Because MusEdit is very flexible and gives you the ability to use it in many different ways, almost all or your notation needs can be accommodated.  You can have treble + Tab, just Tab, just treble, Tab + Bass (for bass dulcimers), a mixture of lyrics with notation, different tab fonts, the option to not show note stems on the tab, and many other things.  Here is an example:

( from "The Magic Dulcimer", by Lorraine Lee )

This tutorial illustrating the relationship between the frets on a three string dulcimer in DDA tuning and the notes on the first string illustrates several interesting features of MusEdit:

- this example shows "large symbols" mode, where all the staves and symbols are 30% bigger
- you can see (under the key signature) symbols indicating the dulcimer's tuning
- in the tab line, "bars" are used to indicate frets
- small bits of text can be inserted anywhere, and in any font, as shown in the pitch labels under each staff


Credits for the examples shown above (and some of the samples below):

four & twenty
Songs for the Mountain Dulcimer
by Lynn McSpadden
1970, The Dulcimer Shoppe
P.O. Drawer E - Mountain View Arkansas 72560

Irish Music for the Mountain Dulcimer
by Robert Hutchinson and James Corr
1980, Robert D. Hutchinson
Silver Spear Publications P.O. Box 81085 Pittsburgh PA 15217

Mel Bay Presents... Moods of the Dulcimer
by Virgil and Norman Hughes
1975, Mel Bay Publications Inc., Kirkwood MO 63122

The Magic Dulcimer
by Lorraine Lee
1983, Lorraine Lee
Yellow Moon Press, 1725 Commonwealth Ave., Brighton MA 02135

If you liked the samples, please buy these books!

    For more examples of the kinds of Dulcimer scores you can produce with MusEdit, please click on the samples below.

Samples of Dulcimer Scores:

(Note! Printed images will not have the jagged lines seen in these screen shots! See FAQ-Appearance)

Amazing_Grace-Dulcimer_Quartet.png (8638 bytes)

Amazing Grace - Dulcimer Quartet

The_Cherry_Tree_Carol-Dulcimer_and_Lyrics.png (8576 bytes)

The Cherry Tree - Dulcimer and Lyrics

Dulcimer-GGC_Chord_Chart.png (3078 bytes)

Dulcimer Chord Chart - GGC Tuning

Norweigan_Wood-Dulcimer_and_Lyrics.png (12668 bytes)

Norweigan Wood - Treble, Dulcimer Tab  and Lyrics

Planxty_George_Brabazon_for_Dulcimer.png (5195 bytes)

Planxty George Brabazon - Simple Dulcimer Tab

The_Silver_Swan-Dulcimer_and_Lyrics.png (18010 bytes)

The Silver Swan - Dulcimer Tab and Lyrics

For more Dulcimer samples, please check out the Alternate Instruments section in the Music Library


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