How to Use the 1-3-5 Learning
two years we have posted monthly tab arrangements for
many kinds of music, using the 1-3-5 tuning. We hope
folks have now learned to appreciate what this tuning
can do, while discovering the beauty of the new “color
chords” it offers.
of our goals has been to encourage readers to try out
this tuning in making their own arrangements of
favorite tunes. To make that a bit easier, we have
included a series of “Learning Aids” on our website,
showing the locations of notes and chords on dulcimers
tuned in various keys. Some of you have told us you have
been planning to try some arrangements of your own,
while others seem hesitant about how to go about it. It
would be difficult to try to write a manual, describing
all details about how to arrange music for the dulcimer.
Instead, we decided to undertake a project that shows
examples of music we have selected for future use on our
website, showing our approach.
Below we list
two tunes in the early stages of arrangement.. Both have
been checked to be certain they can be played on the
three-string dulcimer in the key that is shown, using a
D-F#-A tuning (how we determined this is the subject
of another lesson).
tune, we show all the notes for the melody of the song
(chorus only), plus the key and the time signature
selected. This is the starting point for each
arrangement. To give you a bit of a start, we have also
shown our choices of chord accompaniment and
tablature for the first line only.
of you interested in trying your hand at arranging, your
first job will be to assign fret number and location to
all melody notes, using the fretboard diagrams in
the Learning Aids section of our website.
Notice that some notes are found in more than
one location. Always try to select the location that is
easiest to reach, or that permits the easiest fingering.
assignment is then to decide what chords should be used
to accompany the melody, and where to place them. For
this, you may use the "D-F#-A Chord Table". Note
that this table lists chords by their locations on the
treble string of the dulcimer (highest note of the
also, however, that melody notes sometimes do not fall
on the treble string! Where the melody note occurs on
the middle string, we must often use “two-note”
chords, or “intervals” as harmony. Both of the
following tunes show examples of this in their first
lines. They are actually portions of three-note chords. Be
sure to enter the tablature numbers for chords as well
as melody notes. While most of your chord
selections may be ordinary majors or minors, (the usual
I, IV, V or ii, iii, vi chords) some tunes may sound
better with other choices. Try them and decide for
yourself. You may also want to look at music selections
now in the Archives to see how chords have been used
you encounter any problems, or need help or advice,
email us at the “Contact” addresses on our Home
Page. We would also like to hear about your results!!
Peggy O'Neil chorus.pdf