Please enjoy this 1-3-5 mountain dulcimer tablature...We will be adding more tablature arrangements ...please visit again


Italian Waltz

(American Folk Tune)


Composer: Anonymous

Arrangement: Heidi Cerrigione

Doofus Music 2005


     Tracing the origins of folk music is often difficult. Italian Waltz appears to be a tune that originated in North Carolina during the period between 1840-1850. This was an era marked by the beginning and first flush of popularity of blackface minstrelsy in America. About the only tangible reference to the music itself appeared in an 1889 booklet of 15 tunes, entitled A Collection of Popular Airs and Plantation Melodies, by Mrs. Joe (Alice) Person, Kittrell NC. Many of the compositions in her book were those of well-known authors that included Stephen Foster and Dan Emmett. Italian Waltz listed neither composer nor date of publication.


Fiddle players in the Carolina region have passed down the music over the years in true folk tradition. Heidi Cerrigione mentions that her group learned the tune from a teacher of old-time music named Charlie Gravel. He in turn, had learned it from older players named Lauchlin Shaw and A.C. Overton. In their recording, they credit a fiddler named Dougal Campbell of Harnett County, NC as their source.


It should be mentioned that Alice Person’s version of Italian Waltz is her own, written from memory as an arrangement for the piano. In this early version, the music has a distinct flavor of ragtime. Readers interested in hearing her arrangement and learning more history may log on the links below.




Heidi is an accomplished player of both the mountain and hammered dulcimers, as well as the autoharp. She is also an instructor, performer, recording artist and music arranger. She and her husband, John, live in Connecticut, and have recorded two albums to date. One of these is Winter’s Turning, which includes a lively rendition of Italian Waltz as an arrangement for hammered dulcimer, guitar and accordion.


Heidi’s interest in the mountain dulcimer deepened when she and John first met Neal Walters, whose flat-picking style of playing was one that made her really want to learn it too. She got her first dulcimer from Keith Young and lessons from Neal, later acquiring a baritone, dulcimette and a banjomer.  She says her first exposure to the 1-3-5 tuning was an arrangement by Neal, called Victory Rag. She played  it on the banjomer….”I was looking to get the sound of a major III chord, and the 1-3-5 tuning was the way to go”. *




*Note: In the diatonic scale, only the I, IV and V chords are major. The chords off the second, third and sixth notes are minor, and are designated as ii, iii, and vi.  A major III chord appears in Italian Waltz in the first line, where we see the C# chord (C#/E#/G#). The E#(or F) is made possible by using the “power” of the 1-3-5 tuning in adding chromatic notes to the fretboard. 


Links to Italian Waltz files:



Italian Waltz.pdf


 Italian Waltz.mid


Italian Waltz Text.pdf


John & Heidi’s web page:    




Links to Italian Waltz history:   







  Merv Rowley


  Ruth Randle


  Gail West




  Click to go to the TablEdit website and download their free demo version

If you do not have the Tabledit program, please click on the TablEdit banner to download a free .tef reader program.  It includes the ability to play this song at a slower speed (great for learning). TablEdit is a program for creating, editing, printing and listening to tablature and sheet music (standard notation) for fretted, stringed instruments.

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At this time we will be using the .MIDI music files produced by TablEdit..






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