I’ve been messing around with alternate tunings of the mountain dulcimer. Typically played in the tunings of DAD or DAA, sometimes different keys require different tunings. Although one can capo for different keys, I much prefer to retune to get a “fuller” sound.
Star of the County Down is an Irish ballad, dating back to 1870 or so.
Playing in an alternate tuning presents some fingering/chording challenges, to be sure, but, overall, I’m happy with the result.
Last Saturday, Holly and I had some time to kill and stopped by a local music store that specializes in used instruments. While I was browsing the used guitar section (I don’t really NEED a new guitar, but….) I heard Holly call out, from across the store “Rick…come check this out”.
I assumed she’s stumbled upon a really cool old fiddle, so I went over, and there it was…a beautiful, red Concertina.
The concertina has a fascinating history, and was developed in Germany. It was one of those instruments that was designed to bring music to the common people…small, portable, and inexpensive. Much like the American dulcimer, it’s use is primarily in folk music.
This particular concertina was made in Italy, and is an Anglo version, as opposed to the English version. In the English concertina, whether you push or pull, you get the same note. In the Angle version, you get one note when you pull, another when you push. You get much greater versatility, but it does make it a bit more difficult to play.
As I mentioned, it’s used on lots of different types of folk music, but my two favorites are traditional American cowboy music, and Celtic music. I stumbled upon this reel (which I’d never heard before) and I’ll leave you with this as a taste of what this little instrument can do.