Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music tune learning session Saturday March 2

Blast email sent out late this afternoon -

Hi everybody -

Our first Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music tune-learning jam session in the barn at Clayville Historic Site is coming up Saturday morning. We'll begin with tips for rank beginners at 9:30 a.m., and the session will run from 10 till noon. It'll be a little different from the dulcimer lessons for beginners in January and February - we want to spend more time learning tunes, and we're inviting people who play other instruments to take part - but we're mostly mountain dulcimer players, and we'll be using mountain dulcimer tablature. We'll be building on the dulcimer lessons, and we will continue to be supportive and beginner-friendly. Beverley Buck, who has been doing a lot of the teaching in our beginners' lessons, and I will moderate. We really liked the way the lessons went, and we want our tune learning sessions to have the same friendly, non-competitive, encouraging atmosphere.

We're calling them jam sessions, for lack of a better word, and we'll follow the same rules we've seen at mountain dulcimer jam sessions. We'll go around the circle, and each of us will choose a tune we'd like to have the group play. But most of us are beginners, and we'll concentrate on learning tunes. Bev and I will bring in some favorites from other dulcimer jams, especially tunes with dulcimer tablature available on line. But we're not going to play fast, and we're not going to use the sessions to show off dazzling technique. (I don't have any technique to show off anyway!) So ours won't be like other jam sessions you may have heard about.

Our emphasis will be on teaching and learning. That's one reason we're calling it the Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music. Besides, we think it just *sounds* like Clayville!

Out in Denver, a group called the Small Circle Tune Learning Session has a pretty good discussion of its goals. I've been studying them, and I think they're a good set of goals for us as we launch the Clayville sessions. As we go along, we'll develop our own goals and objectives. So be thinking about where you want our group to go as we learn more. But for now, the Denver group's goals will do for starters:

"SCTLS isn't actually a real [jam] session. We're a tune learning session, and we will teach you tunes, teach how to learn tunes and how to teach tunes, and we will teach you about sessions: what to expect at your local session, and at sessions around the world. We fully expect and want each musician to "graduate" from SCTLS and get out to actual sessions as soon as they're ready...sometimes this is before they feel ready, we know!"
And SCTLS adds this:
"We hope that you'll find we're one of Colorado's most friendly sessions. One of the things that makes the SCTLS unique is that we want you to be free to make mistakes, feel your way through some of the stranger bits of session etiquette, and get comfortable with playing your instrument in public, without feeling ostracized if you inadvertently commit a faux pas or some such. Feel free to ask questions or try something new."
OK, we'll want to change "Colorado" to "Illinois!" But the rest of is important. You can read more on the SCTLS website at:

(A couple of words of translation: SCTLS is a traditional Irish group, so they say "session" where mountain dulcimer players say "jam session" or "jam." What we do will be more like what they sometimes call a "tune learning circle," and the music won't be all Irish, although we do really enjoy a lot Celtic tunes. At least for starters, we'll focus on tunes you're likely to hear at other jams in downstate Illinois and historic sites like Clayville. One last translation - "craic" is pronounced "crack" and it *doesn't* mean what you'd think it does when you hear us talk about it! It's a Scots and Irish term for good conversation, fellowship and the kind of fun you have playing music with a group of people.)

So ... we really liked the enthusisam you all showed at the beginners' lessons in January and February, and we hope to see you at our first Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music tune-learning jam!

Be ready to request one of the tunes we learned in January or February when we go around the circle. If you have other songs to suggest, please let us know and we'll see if we can find free tablature on line that we can send around before the next Clayville academy jam and tune learning session in April. Here are links to three new songs - new to our group at Clayville, that is - which we'll introduce Saturday. They're all available on line in the tab directory at

-- Gray Cat on a Tennessee Farm - scroll down to "Gray Cat on a Tennessee Farm" by Lee Cagle or click on

-- Old Joe Clark - scroll down to "Old Joe Clark 1" by Sr. Margaret Mary or click on

-- Farther Along - scroll down to "Farther Along" by Steve Smith or click on

Since Smith gives tab for both DAA and DAD versions of "Farther Along," you may want to take a yellow highlighter and mark the melody in DAD (notice that you'll play the B in the next to last measure of lines 1 and 2 on the middle string). There's a lot more information on his tab than you need to learn the tune as a beginner, but later on it will help you learn to read standard notation and know your way around the dulcimer in both D tunings. For now, you can't go wrong if you just play the melody. ...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Läsare - songs, one in sifferskrift and notation

Läsarsånger från Riseberga bönhus - ackompanjerad av psalmodikon. Från Läsarmötet den 19 juni 2011. A mixture of Swedish and English/American gospel songs, including "Amazing Grace." KanalSju, which posted the video, looks like an evangelical religious group in Sweden.

Äppelbo gånglåt med fiol och tabla. Another video at KanalSju shows children (of immigrants?) playing "Gånglåt from Äppelbo" on fiddle and tabla. They sound very cool together!

Also, on another website, good documentation of a song called "Enfaldens Wishet" w/ lyrics given in Swedish. Music in standard notation (in D) and sifferskrift (in G?). Also a MIDI file of the tune.

Originalbladet med sången Enfaldens Wishet är utgivet i Växjö 1872. Förläggare anges vara organisten och folkskolläraren J. A. Swensson, Sandsjö. Originalbladet har melodin noterad i sifferskrift. Originalsångbladet har bevarats av musikdirektör Nils-Olof Berg, Farstorp, vars farmor sjöng sången, men då på en något annorlunda traderad melodi. Författare och kompositör anges ej. Sången bär tydliga spår av herrnhutistisk retorik. Vet du något om författare eller kompositör får du gärna ta kontakt via e-postadressen på startsidan.
Vill du se noter i sifferskrift och lära dig något om det gå till sidan sifferskrift. Där hittar du också länkar till notblad med båda melodierna samt midifiler.

Links to page on Läsarsångfestival and singing group at

Posted here so I don't lose it> Wikipedia has a good run of Melodierne i Sifferskrift til Andeliga Sånger (Kristiania [Oslo] 1860) by Oscar Ahnfelt at ...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Prairieland Strings Thursday Feb 21 - also Winter Weekend Feb 22-24 and first Clayville "academy jam" March 2

Lots of activity coming up in the next couple of weeks for dulcimer players, and anyone else in these parts who wants to learn the Appalachian dulcimer and/or join some monthly Saturday morning jam sessions for dulcimers and other (mostly) acoustic instruments we're starting at Clayville.

This week we'll have our regular "third Thursday" meeting of the Prairieland Strings in Springfield, and over the weekend we'll have Mike Anderson's Winter Weekend workshop at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, on Ill. 29 north of Peoria. Then Saturday, March 2, will be the first of a series of slow- to moderate-tempo tune learning and teaching jam sessions for dulcimers and all kinds of other stringed instruments at Clayville Historic Site on Ill. 125 at Pleasant Plains.

Clayville's March 2 jam will kick off a monthly series of events we're calling the Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music. We'll play from 10 a.m. to noon, with some instruction and tips for beginners beforehand from 9:30 to 10. We're all about the fun of making music together in a friendly, non-competitive atmosphere. At a nice, easy pace, too, so we can slow down and hear the music. There's coffee available, too, so we can slow down, hear the music and smell the coffee!

Our academy jams grow out of mountain dulcimer classes we held this winter, but players of all musical instruments are welcome. (I'd love to have a tuba someday - just to say we did it!) We welcome all instruments and skill levels, but most of us are beginning or intermediate players, and we especially welcome beginners.

Prairieland Strings

But first, the "third Thursday" session of the Prairieland Strings from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 at Atonement Lutheran Church in Springfield, 2800 West Jefferson (Ill. 97-125). Bev Buck will introduce us to "The Battle Cry of Freedom." It's in Maureen Sellers' book of Civil War songs for mountain dulcimer, and it's available in culcimer tablature, in DAA and DAD, on the and the Huntsville Mountain Dulcimer Association collection of tab. If you're confused by having both tunings on the tab, get a yellow marker and highlight the notes you want to play.

You'll pick it up more easily if you hear it, and here's a very nice mountain dulcimer performance:

Civil War Medley (including "Battle Cry of Freedom." Performed, finger-picking style, by YouTube user 6FIDS. "Battle Cry ..." is from 0:25 to 0:49 and at the end of the song from 2:18 on.

We're also learning "Si Bheag Si Mohr," a lovely Turlough O'Carolan tune in the Mel Bay book of Celtic tunes arranged by Mark Nelson that Kate Kanaley-Miller introduced in January. Tab is also available on the Three Rivers Dulcimer Society website in Washington state. I posted some YouTube clips and background to a Prairieland meeting notice on Hogfiddle in January. A lovely tune.

Winter Weekend

You can still sign up. Details on Mike Anderson's website at Check your email inbox, too. I sent around a reminder with fliers, etc., a few minutes ago tonight. This is a real opportunity to learn - hope to see you there!

Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music

Our beginners' lessons at Clayville in January and February were so successful, we're going to keep them going through this year's season at the historic site about 15 miles west of Springfield on Ill. 125. While the lessons were for Applachian dulcimer players, we hope to expand our scope and invite people who play other instruments to join us, for a non-competitive jam session where we learn new tunes and enjoy making music with other people.

Here's a flier I wrote to post on websites, bulletin boards, etc.:

Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music

If you have a dulcimer, guitar, banjo, fiddle or any other musical instrument you haven’t touched in years; if you want to practice your skills; or if you just want to learn more tunes, we’re starting a jam session at Clayville just for you! Beginning in March, we’ll hold a slow- to moderate-tempo tune learning jam from 10 a.m. till noon the first Saturday of every month at Clayville Historic Site. We’ll focus on learning tunes, but we’ll share tips for beginners from 9:30 till the jam begins at 10. In the spirit of jam sessions we’ve enjoyed at old-time music festivals, traditional Irish sessions and dulcimer camps nationwide, we want our Clayville academy jams to bring amateur players together to learn new tunes and enjoy the fun of making music together in a friendly, noncompetitive atmosphere. Our academy jams grow out of dulcimer classes we held this winter, but players of all musical instruments are welcome. We welcome all instruments and skill levels, but most of us are beginning or intermediate players, and we especially welcome beginners.

Pete Ellertsen, who has studied dulcimer and folk music at Mike Anderson’s workshops, Western Carolina University, Common Ground on the Hill and the John C. Campbell Folk School, will coordinate the sessions. For more information, call Pete at 217 793-2587.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Prairieland Strings - Tuesday Feb. 5

Blast email sent out tonight to the Clayville and Prairieland Strings email lists --

A reminder - we have the first of our "first Tuesday" sessions of the Prairieland Dulcimer Strings from 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 2, at Atonement Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson. We're going over to a FIRST TUESDAY and THIRD THURSDAY schedule, so more of our members can come to the sessions, so our next meeting will be at the same time and place Thursday, Feb. 21.

Other dulcimer-related events: Our last beginners' workshop at Clayville from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 9 (I'll send out more information in a couple of days), and Mike Anderson's Winter Weekend at Chillicothe, Ill., the weekend of Feb. 22-24. Details on Mike's website at ...

Since we'll have some new people at Tuesday's Prairieland Strings meeting, I'm attaching a couple of songs we like to play and giving links below to some others. I'll teach "John Stinson's No. 2." It'll be a re-introduction for most of us. We're played it before, although not much lately, and I went over it Saturday during the most recent beginners' workshop in Clayville. I invited them to join us; I've added them to our mailing list; and, hey, guys, I'm inviting you again. You already know the song!

Tab for "John Stinson's No. 2" is available on the Huntsville (Ala.) Mountain Dulcimer Association website at - (scroll down to title and click on "Tab" link to open the PDF file). There's more about the tune, including a couple of YouTube clips, on my blog Hogfiddle at ...

Most of you have seen it before, but I don't think it ever hurts to send the link around again.

In addition to "John Stinson's No. 2," here are links to the other songs we've been playing in the beginners' lessons at Clayville. I'd like to call both Tuesday night since we'll have some of them joining us.

They're both tabbed by Sr. Margaret Mary, on the website at

-- "Boil Them Cabbage Down" (scroll down in directory and click on "PDF").

-- "Skip to My Lou" (scroll down in directory and click on "PDF").

At our Prairieland Strings meetings, we've started using a couple of books: (1) Mel Bay's Complete Book Of Celtic Music For Appalachian Dulcimer by Mark Nelson, available from Mel Bay, and other online vendors; and (2) Songs of the Civil War by Maureen Sellers, available on her website at ... We are still in the process of finding a reasonably priced book that features common jam tunes, and in the meantime we're using tab we can get for free on the Internet.

Some other songs we've been playing lately are available on the Internet. Among them are:

-- "Belle of Belfast City" (in tablature archives on Shelley Stevens' website - scroll down to August 2010 and click on "GET TAB HERE"). Link to

-- "Jamaica Farewell" (also on Shelley Stephens' website - scroll down to Sept. 2006).

-- "Jenny's Gone to Ohio" (on Doofus' website - scroll down and click on title). Doofus is the name of a band on the East Coast, and they have a lot of free tab at

-- "Coleman's March" (Terry Lewis of the North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Association has tab at He also has a version of "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" with harmony that looks like fun - click on titles).

There's a very good page of links to more free tablature available on the Internet at

Our beginners' session at Clayville have been exciting, and I think people have shown a lot of interest in learning the dulcimer. So I think Tuesday night's session of the Prairieland Strings will be an expecially good one. Hope to see you there!

- Pete

Friday, February 01, 2013

Har hånd du lagt på Herrens plov - text by N.F.S. Grundtvig; melody, Johann Schop

Den Danske Salmebog Online

Har hånd du lagt på Herrens plov mel. MIDI file of the melody by Johann Schop 1641 (also the Joseph Glæser 1880 melody more commonly heard, at least on YouTube).

Har hånd du lagt på Herrens plov,
da se dig ej tilbage!
Se ej til verdens trylleskov
og ej til Sodoms plage!
Men pløj din fure, strø Guds sæd!
Er jorden dig for tør, så græd!
Vil gråden kvæle røsten,
så tænk på gyldenhøsten!

Cf. Du Lebensfürst, Herr Jesu Christ, Bach chorale BWV 0 043 - 11

BWV 0 043 - 11. Du Lebensfürst, Herr Jesu Christ (Choral) WorldMusicMCMXCI

JS Bach - Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist, Cantate BWV 43 Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist / Du Lebensfürst, Herr Jesu Christ

bio of Schop, list of his chorales at

Homily by Erik Norman Svendsen on website at