Baritone Folio (digital book)
Baritone Folio (digital download)
Compositions and arrangements for the baritone mountain dulcimer
By DJ Hamouris
20 tunes, including multi-part arrangements
Early music, fiddle tunes, English country dances, and original duets
Notes for each tune
Primarily in AEA tuning, but also AEG, GDG, GDF
Selected back-up parts for standard mountain dulcimer tuned DAD
Midi recordings for all tunes & parts
Compositions & Arrangements for the Baritone Mountain Dulcimer
by Deborah “DJ” Hamouris
Like many mountain dulcimer players I’m self-taught. In 1979, when I bought my first one, I did know 3 or 4 players but we all gravitated to different styles. The man I married introduced me to Joellen Lapidus’ book and I happily sat beneath a tree in the park, practicing what I learned.
Fast forward to 2014, when my mentor, Steve Eulberg, moved to the San Francisco bay area, and we began the Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra – part of his Dulcimer Orchestra Project. As co-directors we would determine repertoire, lead rehearsals, and assign parts. Steve was our multi-instrumentalist, bringing standard, baritone, and bass dulcimers – probably even chromatic! The options and different timbres were intriguing to me.
So when I was given a used dulcimer, I turned it into a baritone. This beast had a huge body with a 31” vsl (vibrating string length). It was playable for mostly single-note parts and its voice was so resonant! I was hooked and started playing baritone for the orchestra.
In March, 2020, I was at the Lagniappe Dulcimer Fete in Baton Rouge. The New Harmony Dulcimer Company had their instruments there and Steve insisted I should check out their instruments. I knew I wanted a more playable baritone and was totally smitten by the resonance, the tone, and the 25” vsl fretboard.
During the pandemic, I was able to pivot completely to teaching online. It seemed everyone wanted to learn mountain dulcimer from the comfort of their homes. As a result, I was able to order the baritone dulcimer of my dreams from New Harmony! I named her Nola (for New Orleans, Louisiana – my happy place).
Then, I was back to the place of becoming familiar with my new instrument, discovering (for example) how to incorporate use of the 1+ fret, among other options. Composing and arranging for the baritone were perfect ways to find what use I would have for it, both solo and playing with others. Buffalo, my husband, and I play as a duo on dulcimers so I began to work in the baritone, especially when playing back-up. My fingers became familiar with the chords played in the key of D, or B minor, or G, and especially A. I found D melodies on the AEA fretboard, as well as harmonies and counter-melodies.
This Baritone Folio is full of the beginnings of my explorations. Tunes from the Ren Faire and Dickens Fair, early music, fiddle tunes, songs, and original music are all present. Several are multi-part and can be played as duets, trios, or even quartets.
I hope you find your own way to explore this most resonant member of the mountain dulcimer family. May this music help you on that path.
All the best,
Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still*
Get it Now!
Available as a digital download, complete with audio files for each tune!
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