Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Warfare Is Raging

There is someone whose playing and singing I greatly admire, Ken Rice, aka "Flint Hill" of Pennsylvania. Ken is a member of Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer, and he very kindly consented to my posting his version of this old ballad.

Ken says:
Also known as The Girl Volunteer, Young Johnny, Johnny Oh Johnny, and The Warfare is Raging. There are a bunch of versions. I learned the tune from Joel Keys from Tryon, NC around 1967. It's also influenced by a banjo version that Louise Foreacre did on a 1950s Stoneman Family LP.
Played noter-drone style on a Ben Seymour Galax tuned dddd (D4, D4, D4, D4) which starts a G Ionian scale on the third fret of the paired melody strings. The tune is pentatonic, missing the 3rd and 7th scale degrees (Bronson mode π2). The tone set is DEGAB, lowest to highest, with G being the tonic.
I'm doing a fingerpicking roll that tracks the melody with the thumb and picks up 2-3 drone notes per melody note using the first two fingers.
You can listen to his wonderful picked version of The Warfare Is Raging... CLICK HERE.
Trying to accurately notate Flint Hill's very personal and rhythmic dulcimer picking style would be next to impossible, and likely confusing for beginners, so I have attempted to translate his very basic fret number suggestions into a tab that can be used as a simple jumping off point for learning to play this traditional ballad in your own way. Any ionian mode tuning will work with this tab.
Do listen to his mp3 clip over and over, it will help you get a feel for this compelling tale and its rhythmic bounce. Try to hear what Flint Hill is doing in his playing. Then make the song your own!

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