Modal playing on an instrument designed for just intonation in the major scale (specifically dulcimer)?



Asked by: Tameka Barber

What instruments use just intonation?





The modern un-fretted bowed string instruments; the violin, viola, cello and bass, can and do play in just intonation and can modulate to any key center and maintain just intonation. Modern brass instruments without valves, such as the bugle, play in just intonation in one key only.

What scale is a dulcimer?

Because a standard mountain dulcimer does not include a fully chromatic scale (12-tone), it is considered a modal instrument. That is, the unusual pattern of frets on a mountain dulcimer renders a seven-tone scale.



Modes and Tunings for the Mountain Dulcimer.

Major Modes Minor Modes
Ionian Dorian

What is a dulcimer in music?

dulcimer, stringed musical instrument, a version of the psaltery in which the strings are beaten with small hammers rather than plucked.

What is the dulcimer used for?

This instrument is a mainstay in the music of the Hungarian gypsies and is used as a concert instrument. The cimbalom is equipped with a damper mechanism and has a range of four chromatic octaves. Most other dulcimers are tuned to a diatonic scale with ranges of two to three octaves.

Who uses just intonation?





Non-Western music, particularly that built on pentatonic scales, is largely tuned using just intonation. In China, the guqin has a musical scale based on harmonic overtone positions. The dots on its soundboard indicate the harmonic positions: 1⁄8, 1⁄6, 1⁄5, 1⁄4, 1⁄3, 2⁄5, 1⁄2, 3⁄5, 2⁄3, 3⁄4, 4⁄5, 5⁄6, 7⁄8.

When was just intonation used?

Supposedly used in medieval monophonic music (melody only, without harmony) and considerably discussed by theorists, just intonation proved impractical for polyphonic (multipart) music and was replaced at least by the year 1500 by meantone temperament.

How do you play dulcimer?


You make notes by pushing down on the front that first string next to but not on top of one of these shiny bar they're called frets.

What is the scale length of a dulcimer?

Approximately 75 percent of the dulcimers we sell have 25″ VSL fretboards, and most of the rest have 26″ and 27″ VSLs. But a person with really large hands might be most comfortable with a 29 1/4″ scale length, and a person with very, very petite hands, might be most comfortable on a 23″ or 24″ VSL instrument.

Is a dulcimer?

And it's a folk instrument made of wood commonly heard in bluegrass.



Where is a dulcimer from?

Appalachian mountains

History of the Dulcimer. The Mountain Dulcimer is a true American instrument. It dates back to the early 1800’s, originating in the Appalachian mountains of southwest Virginia. Western Europe had many kinds of fretted lap zithers from the Norwegian Langeleik, the Swedish Hummel, and the French Epinette.

What is a dulcimer made from?

The body of the dulcimer is usually made of harder wood like cherry, black walnut, or mahogany. The tuning pegs are Brazilian rosewood, although old dulcimers have ebony, rosewood, metal, or crude wooden pegs.



How does a dulcimer make sound?

The hammer dulcimer is played around the world it's a distinctive sound that can trace its origins back to antiquity.

What is a dulcimer tone?

The dulcimer is a diatonic instrument; it is not able to play a chromatic scale. It is most often tuned as follows; the lowest string is tuned to a tonic note (most often a D1) and the middle string is tuned a perfect fifth higher to an A1 creating the sound of the drone.