Texas Dulcimer Chorus. Pittsburg, Texas


Here are the tunes that we have done or plan to do in the meeting workshops and the Gilmer workshops. They will mostly be in reverse-chronological order, so you don't have to scroll to the bottom for the latest stuff.

O Holy Night

This is a much loved tune for Christmas. It can be found in several keys. Linda Thompson published a version in D. Linda Thomas, in her Traditional Christmas Arrangements for Hammered Dulcimer, puts it in G. She has three variants as melody, embellished, and backup. The latest Baptist Hymnal has it in A, and there is a chord chart with words posted here. For the melody with chords, I have uploaded PDFs in D, G, A that maybe higher than desired, and A that is an octave lower. My apologies for the gobbledygook in the French title in the PDFs. My ABC-to-Postscript renderer does not grok Unicode. Enjoy.

The Two William Davises

This is a Carolan tune I've wanted to learn, but shied away because its original key is F. I could play it in F, but there's only an octave and a half that's easy to work with up in the northeast corner of the instrument. I decided to listen to some renditions of it on YouTube. While most played it in F, one played it in E (two Irish flutes, IIRC), and another played it in G. Hmm. Well, if they can play it transposed, I can too.

The nearest HD-friendly key is G, so I transposed it up to there. Looking at the sheet music, it looked like most of it was in the upper half of the staff and beyond. It's certainly playable there, and probably a good choice on a 12/11, But, wanting to move it more to the center of the instrument, I transposed it down to D. That looks better.

So you have your choice. I've provided PDFs in the original F, in G, and in D. Enjoy.

Bridget O'Malley

Bridget O'Malley is a traditional Irish love song in G. Amy Lyons found it on Karen Ashbrook's CD, "Starry Starry", paired with "Bridget Cruise" in a medley called "Sweet Bridgets. It is planned for the July 2019 HD workshop at the club meeting.

Bridget Cruise (Third setting)

Bridget Cruise is a tune from Turloch O'Carolan in G mixolydian. It's a relatively short tune and easy to learn. As with all Carolan tunes, you are on your own to decide what chords to use.

March of St. Timothy

This is a fun little tune from England in G. In the B part, you can mess around with the seventh measure by allowing one player to do whatever he wants while the others lay out.


Einini (pronounced Ai-nee'-nee) is a nice little Celtic lullaby in D. It is the subject for the March 2019 meeting HD workshop.

Ash Grove (or Ashgrove)

This is a Welsh tune and is easy to learn. It is planned to be the HD workshop subject for the February 2019 club meeting. The copy at the link came from The Fiddler's Companion, but required a little editing to get the formatting and timing right. It's in D. It shows up in several tune books:

  • Linda Thompson's Beginning Hammered Dulcimer, p.33 in D but an octave lower than the PDF listed.
  • The Waltz Book, p.13 in G.
  • The Kitchen Musician's Occasional Waltz, Air and Misc. No. 1, p. 1 in G

The way it's played varies from book to book. You will note that the last half of the B part is identical to the A part. Given that, most books play the tune AABB. Linda Thompson considers only the unique part of the B part and displays it so that it is played AABA. When playing with a group, find out how they play it.

Kean O'Hara (Third Air)

This is a Carolan tune in G. It is 16 bars with no A or B designation. Just play it through. This copy is an arrangement by Robert Balch and has chords and harmony notes in it.

Coventry Carol

Coventry Carol is a fairly easy tune in Am. We will do it in the HD workshop of the 1 December club meeting in Pittsburg. I also have the tune in Em if anyone wants it, but I think it sounds better in Am. Also the Em requires a D# that is not available on a 12/11 HD.

All Through The Night

This is a Welsh tune I found somewhere in my ABC collection. The copy I have had for some time is in G, but Amy and I play it in D. I have posted PDFs of the tune in G and in D. There are two more verses to it, but for some reason my ABC renderer does not pick them up. If you want that and have ABC software, let me know and I will email the ABC file.

Breath Of Heaven (Mary's Song)

This is a lead sheet (melody, words, and chords) based on Amy Grant's arrangement of the song in G. Amy Grant sings it in D. Here is the lead sheet for that, if you want to play along.

The Blackthorn(e) Stick

The Blackthorn Stick is our featured tune for the September 8 workshop. Helen Mar Parkin will teach a version of it arranged by Cliff Moses. She thinks it's not copyrighted, but to be on the safe side, She will hand out copies of it at the workshop and it won't be posted here. Still, there are only minor differences between that and the traditional tune posted here, so if you want a head start, go for it. It's a fun little tune.

The tune is pretty easy to get into your head. The A part has two halves that are different only in the first and last measure. The first half of the B part is different, but the last half is the same as the last half of the A part. It's played AABB.

La Valse des Jeunes Filles

La Valse des Jeunes Filles or "The Waltz of the Little Girls" is a sweet little waltz I've wanted to learn. It's in D. If I get enough interest, we'll do it some time. Here is a nice rendition of it on YouTube.

The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond

The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond was suggested by Amy. I think I learned this in elementary school. The music here is in G and includes chords.

The Chanter's Tune

"The Chanter's Tune" AKA "The Chanter's Song" or "Song of the Chanter" is in D Mixolydian (one sharp) and is played AABB. The chanter is the part of the bagpipes that plays the melody while the drone pipes play an open D chord (D and A only). Both halves of the A part are pretty much identical. The first half of the B part is mostly different but then lapses back to the same melody as the A part. This is a good tune to play in a group where some play the melody and some play the drone, and then you can swap off. We did this with some mountain dulcimers at Gilmer and had a good time with it. If someone can provide me some MD tab for this, I'll post it. I would think this would be a great MD tune.

The Foggy Dew

Yes, we have two copies of "The Foggy Dew". This is the one we worked on at the 11 August workshop in Gilmer. This one is in Em (one sharp), but the first half of the B part is pretty much in G. The last half of the B part is the same as the A part, so there's not much to learn. Compared to what I handed out, the meter is corrected and I've added my preferred chords. I wasn't nuts about the chords in the copy listed below. This is a matter of taste, not what is correct. As always, YMMV.

The Shepherd's Wife Waltz

"Shepherd's Wife Waltz" is a very sweet tune and frequently shows up in jams. This tune is customarily played in G, but it's sometimes played in D. As notated here, it's played AB, but sometimes played AABB. In her Hammered Dulcimer Notebook Linda Lowe Thompson arranges it to be played AB. This file came from one of my ABC collections and has chords. Note that some of the measures are played in a dotted rhythm and some in straight quarter notes. Don't get too hung up on that because different arrangers and players may well do it differently.

South Wind (or Southwind)

On July 14th at our Gilmer workshop, we spent some time on "South Wind" in G. This comes out of my file, and is more or less as we played it. If you want to see it in D, here it is from my HUGE collection.

King of the Fairies (or Faeries)

This tune was planned for the July 2018 meeting workshop, but was slipped to the following Gilmer workshop. We learned a simpler tune, but did mention that it is aeolian (minor) mode in the A part and dorian mode in the B part. Both modes sound "minor" but the difference is that the sixth note of the scake in dorian mode is sharped relative to the same note in aeolian mode.

Note also that even the sheet music shows a straight rhythm, it is a hornpipe, so is played with a dotted rhythm.

The Foggy Dew

This one is in Em (one sharp), but the first half of the B part is pretty much in G. The A part is repeated, but the B part is not. And the last half of the B part is the same as the A part, so there's not much to learn.

The Skye Boat Song

This tune, AKA "Over the Sea to Skye" This was planned for the June 2018 workshop. but only two of us showed up. We will likely revisit this at a future workshop.

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