At our monthly jams at C&O Canal National Park, anywhere from 5 to 9 musicians gather at The Tavern to share traditional dulcimer music with visitors. We have a large–and growing–repertoire. It’s a delight to hear the melody sing out and to get audience members into the act with loaner dulcimers and percussion instruments.
Lately, I’m finding great enjoyment in creating backup. Coming off a great workshop on this topic offered by Stephen Seifert at Kentucky Music Week, I’m experimenting with reverse chords, chords up the fretboard, off-beat chops and bass runs. What a treat to hear the back-up notes dance with the melody. It’s true–you don’t have to be the star of the show to make a contribution. Back-up playing feeds my creativity and builds my knowledge of the dulcimer’s possibilities. (And–truth be told–it comes in handy when the group picks a tune I haven’t played in awhile!)