CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > Dulcimers in the Midlands & the North

Bill Fell - tuning

Bill Fell's tuning is the logical extension of the basic fifths idea.

Four courses give a diatonic scale when divided at 2:3, and the fourth degree may be used as the first of another scale, the subdominant of the first.


In the same way, the fourth of the new scale may again be used as the first degree of a third scale, and so on, round the cycle of fifths for as long as there are courses to use.

Bill's instrument does this four times, starting with D major, ending with F, but other keys are also available as a by-product.

Bill tunes his dulcimer himself, but does not always find it very easy and

"some nights I just give it up till next week".