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Hello Music Friends!

Hello Music Friends! I have been contemplating on what to talk about for this Newsletter. Of course, the festival is on everyone’s mind right now. I hope you all can be there!! If you are not able to camp, I hope you can at least come down for a day and check out the music! It’s been the highlight of my year for so many years I can’t remember how long I’ve been going! I know my kids were in grade school when we first started attending – that’s just a little bit ago… The executive committee has worked hard planning the WUP picnic. We have a good lineup of instructors and lots of fun workshops and jams planned. I hope you make it a priority to attend and enjoy the day!

The other subject I wanted to talk about was my Baritone Dulcimer.

So here is the first chapter of, “My We meet at … on the New Hope Christian Church Second Saturday of each month Wichita, KS 9:30 - Noon September 2022 GPDA Newsletter page 2 Baritone Story”. How many club members have a Baritone MD, or have contemplated getting one? I bought my McSpadden Baritone this spring and it is a dandy!! I have spent the last few months getting to know “Barry”…… I think we will have a long-lasting friendship!!

Barry is tuned to AEA. Standard Dulcimers are generally tuned to DAD – as you know. Is this a problem – NO! There are many ways that baritones can play with other dulcimers tuned to DAD. I’m not an expert, not even close – it takes time to develop these friendships, Barry and I are still getting to know each other - but I’m learning. Here are a few things I have learned so far.

1. Barry has a lovely low voice and is beautiful for solo playing. I love the lower sound. Anything you play on your standard dulcimer can be played on a baritone!! You can even use the same chord shapes! Just jump right in and start playing!! Now, what if you want to play with other dulcimer players??

2. You are using the same chord shapes – but – those chord shapes have different names now. I can just hear you saying, “I knew it wasn’t that easy!” “That’s why I don’t want a Baritone!” It’s not that bad, I promise!! For me, I love to play back up chords and harmony, so this is right up my alley! Let’s think about one of our favorite songs – “Redwing” in the key of D. I can easily play along with chords! I use all the chord shapes that you know, I just have to remember those shapes relate to different chords on the Baritone. For Example: The chords used in Redwing are D, G, E, and A. To play a D chord I would use the shape of a G, 0-1-3. To play a G chord I would use the shape of C, 1-1+-3. To play an E chord I would use the shape of A, 1-0-1. To play an A chord I would use the shape of a D chord, 2-3-4. Those chord shapes move to all same places they do when you play in the key of D, they just have new names. It’s crazy fun – I love it!!

3. Another cool thing is that you can take the place of the Bass player by playing some cool bass notes and runs on the bass string!!

4. And – one of my favorite things is – I can easily play along with others when they are playing in the key of A! No need to capo – I’m already playing in AEA!!! Why do I love that so much – because many of my favorite fiddle tunes are in the key of A.

There are many more cool things about Baritones. Think you might want to give one a try? I heard a really nice sound comparison last week between McSpadden, New Harmony and Folkcraft. All lovely. I did have a favorite…. What pleases my ear may not please yours, so I’ll let you do your research and decide what you like.

Hope to see you in Winfield. Come find me – I would love to play a tune or two with you!!



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