CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > 'British' dulcimers 1800-1945

Printed tutors

Overview of characteristics - 2 of 3

6. Exercises & Scales: are given in each tutor.

7. Numbering of the notes in the tunes to be played, corresponding to the tuning diagram, so that the staff notation may also be used as tablature: this is done in every case, except that, in Mason, after the first part of the book, it applied only to the first bar of each piece. In Webber's tunes written for the chord dulcimer, there are numbers above the notes 'for the right hand, or melody', and numbers under the notes 'for the left hand, or chords'.

8. Special dulcimer characteristics: in general these are conspicuous by their absence, and the entire contents apart from the tuning diagrams could have just as well been written for any instrument; exceptions are a few cursory notes on using the beaters alternately as far as possible, an exhortation to begin always with the right hand, a few passages in which there are indications as to which hand to use, and "The Roll" or tremolo, described in Mason and Roylance-chromatic. Roylance wrote tutors for many other instruments: here.

9. Texture: The great majority of pieces are single-line (monophonic) melodies; occasionally two-note chords are used at cadences, commonly degrees 7-8 of the scale with 4-3. Roylance-diatonic and Mason have a section each with two-part pieces in, while Webber concludes with one such piece. A more complex texture consisting of melody and vamped accompaniment is explained and notated in Mason, and Webber reproduced one example of this, the Blue Danube.

10. Text: Only Mason has any significant amount of text; the chart has virtually none, while Roylance and Webber give brief introductory comments and follow with plenty of tunes.

11. Plectrum is mentioned only in the latest tutor, Webber.

12. Repertoire - cont.