Dulcimer Tab

All Dulcimer Central TAB is in both PDF and  TablEdit format.  You must have at least the FREE TablEdit Viewer to view and print my TablEdit files. It’s and easy download from their page linked here. They will play back and show the TAB, and you can slow it down as much as you want. Or get the full program if you want to save all measures, arrange and write your own TAB, or even edit my TAB with your own ideas. It costs about $60 USD (one time charge…it’s a good deal).  This Tab is offered only for educational purposes. Nothing is for sale. The songs are not direct copies of existing songs but rather an interpretation of them….it’s just how I play them. You may only use this Tab archive for private study, scholarship, or research as defined by “fair use”.    UPDATE:  For those who have not downloaded the Free TablEdit Reader, all tunes are also in PDF.

***Some Mac users have problems opening these TablEdit files. Go HERE to view how to get it to work.
 

  • Battlefield Road-composed by Gary Gallier, Novice and up, dAD, Key D.    I use this tune frequently as an introduction to flatpicking for new players.   The A Part can be played with two fingers, one on the treble string and bouncing the other around to get notes you need.  B Part tip, hold the strummed chords and bounce your thumb to get all the other notes.  PDF
  • Brides Retreat– Composed by Gary Gallier, Novice and up, dAD, Key D. I wrote this catchy little fiddle tune for the wedding of my dear friend Ariane Lydon …she wanted something ‘snappy’ when the “I do” part was over. I have taught it to Beginners and Intermediates as well, and we always got through it by the end of the workshop. Good introduction to my style of Melodic Flatpicking. PDF
  • Canon in D– Composed by J. Pachelbel, Arr: Gary Gallier, Intermediate to Advanced, dAD, Key D.   Here is my arrangement for two dulcimers, melody with sort of a counterpoint harmony.  This is a 2 part arrangement of both Melody and Harmony.  In workshops I teach a 6 part rendition. The melody (Intermediate)  is more scale oriented while the harmony counter point (more Advanced) is more chord oriented with patterned arpeggios picked through held chords.  Hold the chord and pick the strings in the order shown.  Of course you can also do a strum on the chord changes for a third dulcimer or for a less advanced skill level.  This tune is the definition of the saying “It’s the same but different”.   Playing Harmony you WILL become adept at playing a bunch of D,A,Bm,F#m, and G chords and their inversions, so a great study/practice piece to that end.  TIP - for both parts, practice your chord changes first with just a strum to familiarize yourself with hand positions.  I show full 3 note chords in the Harmony even though sometimes only a partial is actually played. If you print, the Harmony line is directly under it's companion Melody line. PDF
  • Cooley’s Reel -Trad. Arr for dulcimer: Gary Gallier. Intermediate to Advanced, dAD,Key of Em- No capo out of open D tuning. This is a fun Irish reel that is really good for educating your picking hand.  Work a phrase repeatedly till you can play a decent tempo, then do the same with the next phrase.  Tip: Hold a 110 Em Chord to start the A Part and 011 to start the B Part.  PDF
  • Cross Key Scales Several songs on this Tab page will be in Keys other than D, but played without a capo while tuned to dAD. This is accomplished by playing scales across the fretboard on multiple strings. To play melody cross key you need to practice the scales available cross key frequently using the 1.5 fret. Here is some Tab of scales in various keys. I have written a more complete explanation of this in the category of Writings called "Cross Key Scales". Also in PDF
  • Dominion Reel-Trad. Arr. Gary Gallier, Advanced Beg – Intermediate, dAD, Key C modulating to D.   This is a nice lesson in the versatility of flatpicking when it comes to good use of the 1.5 fret, and being able to play in multiple keys.  Without retuning from dAD, the tune is played first in C and then modulates up to the key of D.   It will be a pretty easy song for you to understand.  Getting up to speed will of course, like all my arrangements, require some practice.  If nothing else though, I hope it’s enlightening.   Tips for execution….I know I sound like a broken record, but use a different finger for each note and alternate your pick direction. PDF
  • Drowsy Maggie– Trad. Arr for dulcimer: Gary Gallier, Intermediate, dAD, Key Em – No Capo out of open D tuning. Another Celtic tune that is similar to “Cooley’s Reel”, but not as hard. If nothing else the A part is just a great picking hand exercise for working on cross string alternating pick strokes. I have put pick direction notation on this one. Start with chord position 110 Em chord and just pick it ! As slow as you need to get it right. Speed will come sooner than you think. PDF
  • Far From Home-Trad. Arr for dulcimer: Gary Gallier, Intermediate, dAD, Key A modulating to G –  Here’s a fun Celtic reel that is also a introductory lesson in playing cross key out of standard dAD tuning.  Dulcimer should have the 1.5 fret for the Key of G version.  It is also a good tune to practice your alternating pick stroke…I've got pick direction notation under the TAB..   Tune plays in A first then changes to a version in G.  And then back again if you wish.  Give it try !  PDF
  • Fisher’s Hornpipe– Trad. Arr for Dulcimer by Gary Gallier, Advanced, dAD, Key D –  Wonderful hornpipe that I discovered has 3 parts.  The 3rd part can be traced back to 1920 era recordings.   I really love how it fits.   This is meant to be played at a moderate tempo with the syncopated hornpipe bounce.   It’s my understanding that most hornpipe steps would be difficult for dancers at a very fast tempo.  The tab file has the syncopation..as close as the software will allow…of the bouncy nature of it.   I am planning to record this arrangement, so feel free to learn it, but please refrain from recording it without my permission.  (in other words I want to do it first.   PDF version also.
  • Gitano Solitario– Composed by Gary Gallier, Advanced, dAD, Key Am. From our “Craft of Kin” album, over the years I have been asked numerous times if I had Tab for this Flamenco style piece so here it is…all 3 tempos, 2 time signatures, and 113 measures of it. It’s actually quite playable with a good amount of repetitive phrases. Let me know if I can help…Good Luck ! PDF
  • Gypsy-wind -Composed by Gary Gallier 1993, Strong Intermediate, dAD, Key Em.   This is from the On The Wing CD, also appearing on the Masters of Mountain Dulcimer, Vol. 1.   First two parts are a quick fiddle style, and the third part goes into a more airy lull in the storm.  Much of the tune is played out of the 011 Em chord as a base for the cross string Em scale melody, barre with two fingers while leaving left over fingers to walk across the strings.  PDF
  • Happy Lonesome Waltz -composed by Gary Gallier, 2007, Intermediate, dAD, Key D.   This tune is from my Three Wire Choir CD, a romantic little waltz with a bit of Cajun swing to it.   Tip - in measure 8, and anywhere that repeats itself, when the chord reads 401(101), go to the 401 first using your thumb on the 4, but be ready to  go to 1 on the bass and hammer back to the 4 bass.  I hold the 101 while playing the 401.  Then it's pretty easy just to lift your thumb and the 1 bass is right there already held.  It's called back fretting.  PDF
  • Hi Mom !– Composed by Aaron O’Rourke, Advanced, dAD, Key Dm/D. With a collaborative effort between Aaron, Steve Seifert, and myself, we managed to get this great classical style song tabbed…whew ! The general technique used in playing it draws on picking melody notes out of held chords (patterned arpeggios) with fills and runs to flesh it out. Ok..1,2, Everybody Play ! Yeah right…me and you both. Fundamentally this technique can also be found in my tabbed exercise in this list below called Picking Through Chords. For a little more insight, you can find my Mel Bay Dulcimer Sessions article “Chord Arpeggios” in the Instruction category in the left side bar here. Dulcimer Sessions is a project of Lois Hornbostle. PDF
  • Kesh Jig– Trad. arranged by Gary Gallier, Advanced Beginner to Intermediate, dAD, Key D.    A nice Celtic Jig in the low octave starting on the bass string, and all played on the first 3 frets.   Jigs are 6/8 time with emphasis on the 1 and 4 beats to give it the feel.   So using the alternating pick method, the 1 is emphasized with an out stroke, and the 4 is emphasized with an in stroke.  So it makes a good picking hand exercise in emphasis by strum direction..  PDF
  • Kitchen Girl -Trad. Arr for dulcimer: Gary Gallier. Strong Intermediate, dAD, Key of A and Am. No capo out of open D tuning. Several people have found my technique of a partial barre with my thumb useful when needing to barre up the scale followed quickly with notes down the scale. This song uses that technique right off the bat in the first measure, and again several times in the song. Tip..in the 9th measure I am also using this technique for the two quick 4’s in the middle of it. They are picked out of a partial barre. Other measures...note the rhythmic rests at the beginning of measures 5 and 13.  And measure 19 is a great exercise all on it's own for alternating your pick repeatedly between two strings.  Great tune. PDF
  • Lock Laven Castle-Trad. Arr. for dulcimer:Gary Gallier. Intermediate to Advanced, dAD, Key Am, no capo. Here’s some more 1.5 fret repertoire for playing in the Key of Am with this neat Celtic tune.Lots of 8th notes in this one Tip - 1.5 allows the lower register Am melody on  the A Part, and to play the upper register B Part, you move up to a 033 partial barre with two fingertips, and play other notes with the fingers you've got left.  Alternating pick strokes. Lots of notes that are just one fret away from each other makes this easier to learn than you might think. PDF
  •  Picking Through Chords Exercise– Composed by Gary Gallier. Novice and Up, dAD. I taught this to Aaron O'Rourke in a workshop when he was 16 years old.  I didn't see him again until he was better at it than I am, and it has become and integral part of his playing.  Learn to navigate the potential melody notes contained in chords and their inversions, as well as a practice exercise for the alternating pick direction method.  Pick direction notation is underneath the TAB.. A great warmup exercise as well. Repeat each chord several times in a loop. Playing Tip: using the SAME 3 fingers, walk them only touching one at a time across the fretboard. IE: middle index thumb middle index thumb…repeat through entire chord exercise until last 3 notes of the chord. Those would be index middle thumb. This works with every chord in the exercise. Work on speed but smooth first. PDF
  • Red Haired Boy– Trad. Arr for dulcimer: Gary Gallier, Intermediate, dAD, Key of A no capo. This very fundamental version is the first tune I ever worked out playing cross key into the Key of A without using a capo. One of my favorite Celtic tunes. It’s also a good example of making choices on where to play a given note….for example, why play the 3 middle rather than the open treble ? They are the same note, but the 3 middle follows the flow across the fretboard and allows me to post a finger on the 1 treble to give me a open sounding A chord drone. Same with the 4 bass to start the song, instead of the open middle...just works better for me.  You may choose differently.  It is also an example of having to substitute a note...The A scale normally has a G# (3+ fret) on the bass string.  I don't have one, so I tried a G (3 fret).  Still sounds like close enough to me PDF
  • Sandy River Belle -Trad. Arr: Gary Gallier, Novice-Intermediate, dAD, Key of D. This is a good tune for the novice to tackle as a skill building challenge of playing out of a cross string scale in the second octave starting in the middle of the fretboard. . A fun tune when you get up to speed. Tip: The 3rd fret middle is an anchor point position, holding a finger there most of the time and playing notes around it with other fingers.  I use my thumb a lot.     PDF
  • Seeker’s Waltz -Composed by Gary Gallier Intermediate to Advanced, dAD. Key of Bm. From our Craft of Kin CD, this tune uses patterned chord arpeggios for melody. This is a very comprehensive chord study as well. There are 13 different chord positions in the song. A complete explanation of this technique, entitled “Chord Arpeggios for Melody” can be found in the Instruction category in the left side bar here. All the fingerings, including a “C” part improvisation, can be seen in this Video on YouTube. TIP - I use the side of my thumb in several places to barre two strings at the same fret, leaving other fingers free to play other things.  Example, as I start the song I am barred at the treble/middle 55 with my thumb. My choice...you can use the tips of two fingers, it's just a little less efficientPDF
  • Spotted Pony-Trad. Arr for dulcimer: Gary Gallier, Advanced Beginner and up, dAD, Key of D.    This is a good song the Advanced Beginner who wants to work on a little flatpicking.   The first phrases of both the A and B part is quite fundamental with more quarter notes, and then gets more 8th note oriented the second time through.  Good introduction to the alternating pick method, and will really educate your picking hand without being too hard.  I’ve included pick direction marks.  A little practice and you will get it.   Also in PDF
  • Swallow Tail Jig –  Trad. Arr for dulcimer by Gary Gallier, Intermediate, dAD, Key Em.   Another great Celtic jig.   All played in the first 3 frets.   Start with a 011 Em barre and work the other notes with other fingers while holding it.   The chords displayed above the Tab are accompaniment chords for a second dulcimer.  They are in a higher register than the melody, so it gives the duet more depth. Like most of my Tab, this should be played using the alternating pick stroke. PDF
  • The Road to Lisdoonvarna-Trad. Arr for dulcimer: Gary Gallier, Novice and up, dAD, Key of A. No capo out of open D tuning. I have indicated this as Novice because it is easy enough to understand. It requires plenty of practice to play well however. It is a good example of how combining playing techniques can make an arrangement much more rich. This one combines single note flatpicked runs with partial chords played as double stops for self accompaniment. The tune would not sound near as delicate and expressive, or have the same rhythmic pulse, if everything was a full strum. PDF
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast -Trad. Arr for dulcimer: Gary Gallier. Novice and up, dAD, Key of D. An easy flatpicked fiddle style arrangement of the great traditional tune. It’s a good exercise in both the first position scale starting on the open bass string, and second position scale starting on the 3 middle. TIPS: On the B Part, I anchor my middle finger at the 3 fret middle string, and bounce my thumb or index finger around to reach other strings.  In measures 13 thru 14 of the B part, the @ symbol above the Tab is a marker for where and when you need to move your anchor finger, and then play the notes after it with left over fingers. The thumb can be one of them !   PDF