Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Over The River, Charlie

This past weekend I attended a small dulcimer festival near me, and there were several workshops I enjoyed. One song, taught by Carolynne Langley in her 'Songs of the Mountains' workshop, stuck in my head long after I got home. It was Over The River Charlie, as played and sung by Jean Ritchie.
Now, I've seen Jean's standard notation version in her Dulcimer Book, and I've heard her lovely recorded voice singing it over the years. But sometimes a song just grabs onto you at a certain moment in time and won't let go, and I am grateful to Carolynne for bringing this song to my attention again. I decided to make a TAB in true Dorian mode tuning for it, and to also include a simple harmony part that one might wish to play while singing the melody part. Jean Ritchie has written about this pretty way of singing the melody while playing a harmony on the dulcimer's melody string. I couldn't manage to sing it in D, so I tabbed it down to C instead, which helped. You can always play a dulcimer duet with someone using the two parts as well.
A quick clip of Jean Ritchie playing and singing this pretty song can be heard here. Of course no one can sing it like Jean.


  1. I love this. I'm a very beginner, but am going to give this a try. Thank you!

  2. it does one good to drop by occasionally here to learn some new songs, so thanks again for this one !
    I picked up the fiddle a half year ago, and have great fun in learning all this new music.
    As you mention Jean Ritchie, I got a friend of mine (a classical composer-musicologist who teaches in a very famous musicschool in Belgium)to listen to a few of her recordings and he was awed by the sheer beauty of the songs and of the renditions she gives them, that's a feather to put in her cap and no mistake !

  3. I wanted your permission to print for our dulcimer group in the fall. The purpose is for discussing and playing using Jean's style and modes. We will not be posting any of it online but for a one time use only.

  4. Hi Cindy, yes you have my permission to use this for your dulcimer group, as long as the material is not distributed beyond members of the group and they understand it is for their personal use only and not for further copying and distributing, or inclusion in publications. Thank you for asking permission!
    Enjoy your playing. :)

  5. Thank you! I will be sure to do that.