I was first introduced to the Appalachian dulcimer (as we called it then) back in the early 70’s and, at that time, DAA would have been the main tuning used for major scale songs and tunes. For me, living in England, London’s Roger Nicholson was a major influence when I started out and Roger used DAA as his major scale tuning.
Today, as the reader will know, DAD is by far the most dominant tuning for the modern mountain dulcimer and DAA is now perhaps seen as a dated and/or beginner’s tuning. This film however, made in 2021, of Roger’s pastoral piece Spring Season may challenge that perception.
In this article I’d like to demonstrate that DAA is not only alive and well but can be used to play meaningful, and perhaps even moving, dulcimer music.