Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Prairieland Strings -- dulcimer tab for Christmas, and clips of the English version of "Away in a Manger"

Some clips to supplement our playlist for the Advent supper Dec. 18 ...

One of the tunes we'll play is "Away in a Manger" from Maureen Sellers' Simply Christmas tablature book. This is not the usual American version -- it's English, and it has a much nicer melody, IMHO. Maureen has both melody and harmony parts in her book. Of the several dulcimer tab versions available on line, the only one that has this melody is in a discussion thread headed "Away in a Manger - Richard Wilson dulcimer 1-5-8-5 tuning" -- on the Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer website. It has a very nice 2:17-minute sound clip by Robin Clark. He says:

Here is 'Away in a Manger' played on my 1981 Richard Wilson dulcimer - it is a fine instrument I have it set 4 string equidistant and tuned 1-5-8-5 for this recording today. I've just checked and the instrument is smack on D-A-d-A (a bit of a surprise to be that accurate because I just tuned it up from slack without using a tuner ). Here's a useless fact - When I was eleven years old I sang the second verse to this carol as part of a trio for the live broadcast BBC Christmas Concert from the Royal Albert Hall.
FOTMD is a wonderful resource, BTW, and I've just joined (member page at


once I figure out what to do with it.) For a link to a PDF file of the melody of "Away in a Manger" in standard notation, scroll down to Wilson's reply, which is the second one under "Replies to this Discussion, and open the attachment. If that doesn't work, here's a direct link to the PDF file.

Two videos follow. The first is a lovely English choral arrangement, complete with boy sopranos, by the King's College Choir at England's Cambridge University in 2001:

The second gives us the full Celtic Woman stage treatment in a (bootlegged?) telecast of a concert performance:

Also on the tentative playlist:

-- "Joy to the World" - Tull Glazener's arrangement, available on the internet at Glazener's website.

-- "O Come all Ye Faithful" -- R.L> Walker of the Dogwood Dulcimer Association of Pensacola, Fla., has an online arrangement that looks pretty straightforward. I haven't tried to play it (I've never really had the patience to play from tab), but let's print out copies and take a run at it Thursday.

We'll also do four songs from Steve Eulberg's book of Christmas ensemble arrangements, Deck the Halls. There's more about the arrangements, including an audio clip of two songs we'll be doing, "In the Bleak Midwinter" and a video clip of "Still, Still, Still" on Steve's Owl Mountain Music website. (Eulberg means "owl mountain" in German.) We'll also play "The First Nowell" and "Silent Night."

1 comment:

Strumelia said...

Hi there, could you please update your link to FOTMD? Our new location is:

Thanks! Strumelia :)