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Archive-Simple Melody tablature arrangement by John Sackenheim for the mountain dulcimer in the 1-3-5 tuning


Simple Melody


Irving Berlin, neé Israel Baline

Mountain Dulcimer Tablature Arrangement by John Sackenheim


“Perhaps no other songwriter had so much influence on the development and performance of American popular song as Irving Berlin. He wrote his first hit song, Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, in 1911 at the age of  21. By 1914, he was well known on Broadway and was contracted to write a stage show starring Vernon and Irene Castle, the world-renowned dance couple. The show was entitled Watch Your Step and received national acclaim. One of  the tunes by Berlin was Play a Simple Melody,  having a “ragtime” tempo like that of a currently popular dance step. The combination was a huge success and the show was performed 175 times before finally closing.
Ragtime music in America began with the early minstrel shows prior  to the Civil War, and finally peaked in popularity shortly after the early 1900’s. It’s significance relates to its syncopated tempo and use of chromatic notes, eventually leading to the creation of today’s jazz music.
Play a Simple Melody is written as a two-part composition. The first is the “simple”, unsyncopated sound of traditional music from the Gay Nineties era. The second is a ragtime selection having a separate set of lyrics and melody, both of which can be “superimposed” as a contrast of two musical styles. The arrangement for the dulcimer is shown here as two separate parts for two instruments. When played together as a duet, the two produce an interesting study in harmony and rhythm . As an aid in learning, sound files for each part and for the combination have been provided. This tab offering may be a bit beyond the beginners but is well worth the effort for players at the intermediate level and beyond.”




Part 1:
Won’t you Play A Simple Melody
Like my mother sang to me?
One with good old fashioned harmony
Play A Simple Melody

Part 2:
Musical demon, set your honey a’dreamin’
Won’t you play me some rag?
Just change that classical nag
To some sweet beautiful drag

If you will play from a copy of a tune that is choppy
You’ll get all my applause
And that is simply because
I want to listen to rag

Part 3:
My heart is palpitatin’
From all this syncopation
When I hear a ba-_nd
And when I’m with my honey
My feet start actin’ funny
When I hear a band
It’s really not surprisin’
My temp’rature keeps risin’
When I hear a ba-_nd
So pardon all my swoonin’
My crazy way of croonin’
When I hear a ba-_nd


Mountain Dulcimer Tablature Arrangement by John Sackenheim

This tablature is available in the following formats:



Simple Melody .TEF

Simple Melody-Part 1 .TEF

Simple Melody-Part 2 .TEF


Adobe .PDF

Simple Melody Part 1

Page 1 / Page 2


Simple Melody Part 2

Page 1 / Page 2 / Page 3

Printable Webpage (.JPG Format)


Simple Melody Part 1

Page 1 / Page 2


Simple Melody Part 2

Page 1 / Page 2 / Page 3


Midi File:  Produced from TablEdit

Simple Melody Part 1

Simple Melody Part 2

Simple Melody Both

  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.



  Click here to download a free version of Adobe Reader

Adobe® Reader® is a free software for viewing and printing Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.





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









Mother playing piano for child

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