Refrains Or Trains with Mountain Dulcimer and Bowed Psaltery

The dulcimer is tuned DAA and I believe this song to be in the F# Phrygian mode. Three bowed psaltery tracks provide the psaltery harmony.

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Comment by Rick Long on August 23, 2011 at 4:27pm
I can't say anything about which is the best between the two.  I only have the older H4 and not the new H4n.  It still does a fine job as far as what I use it for.  If I were to upgrade I would probably buy the H4n.  There are several discussions online, just Google "Zoom H2 vs H4n" to find out what folks are saying.  The reviews on Amazon are great to find out what folks think of them.  I think they are both highly rated and worth the cost.  I guess it depends on your intended use.  They are a super fast and portable way to record and get some music online quickly.  They are like a lot of the new gadgets, they will do quite a bit if you are willing to put in the time to learn how.  I seem to just learn enough to make it do what I want and have been happy so far.  At a jam, my H4 will record over three hours on a 2 gig sd card.  There are some sd cards that are compatible up to 32 gig.  That's a lot of recording time.  Be sure it is a compatible brand and size.  I have several Kingston brand cards that I use with my digital camera, 2,4, and 8 gig.  The two gig is the only one that will work in the H4.  There's a list of cards that will work in various sizes on the Zoom website.
Comment by Terry Butler on August 23, 2011 at 3:17pm

Let me know how you like it.  Mine will have to wait until Christmas or after.  I'll be interested to hear about the sound quality though.  

Comment by Donna Malus on August 23, 2011 at 3:12pm

Hi Terry, I was looking at both of the recorders and comparing reviews. The general opinion about the H4n is it's fantastic, but reviews are not as kind to the H2. I'm considering the H4n, dish out the extra money up front rather than be sorry if the H2 isn't quite what I wanted. I found a bundle with the H4n at Amazon for $338. The H4n is about $299 normally. The bundle has a few extras that might interest you.

Comment by Terry Butler on August 23, 2011 at 12:48pm

Rick - what's the difference between the Zoom H2 and H4?  Is the sound quality decent like with the

Sony camcorders?  

Comment by Donna Malus on August 23, 2011 at 8:31am

Thanks Rick, I'll look at it!   I'm getting together in September with a few friends to play and that would be nice to have. Video is fun, but not always practical, though I get a decent sound on my Canon Camcorder...


Comment by Rick Long on August 23, 2011 at 8:27am

That's great advice Dave.  I wonder just how many masterpieces been lost to memory over the years.  I find myself improvising more in the past few years, instead of just playing familiar tunes.  There are times when it's not convenient to record.  Folks that have one of the new smart phones can get a free app to record, not great quality, but good for having it to listen to and be able to re-create the song.


There are really good small digital recorders available now.  I use a Zoom H4.  It's super easy to use and just pop the sd card in your computer and save the file.  Then use a free program like Audacity to make transform it however you want.  You can pick out just the songs you want and save it as a file.  There are also free mp3 converters to convert .wav files into an mp3 that is friendly for web sites and to email.  An mp3 is a much smaller file.


Those small recorders are great to carry to jams and capture the moment.  Here's a Zoom H2 that I have seen folks using at jams - 


It's small enough to fit in an instrument bag and take where ever you are playing music.


Comment by Dave Holeton on August 23, 2011 at 8:15am


Sheet music and midi file will work fine.  I'm at


Comment by Donna Malus on August 23, 2011 at 8:13am
Thanks Dave, I did capture it and wrote two additional parts for it. I'll send you the sheet music if you like and a midi file of it. I would love your feedback. I have to work myself up to recording my own playing. I keep finding excuses why I'm too busy or too tired....etc. etc. etc.
Comment by Dave Holeton on August 23, 2011 at 7:19am


I recommend that you (and anyone else who has some songs in mind) record your song as soon as you can.  Even if you're going to keep it to yourself.  If you listen to it later you may decide to make a polished version, but it's important to capture whatever you have now while it is fresh in your mind. 


I lost a sister in 1992 and my dad in 1994.  A part of a song came to me about 5 or 6 years ago.  It came quick but I didn't play it much and maybe it more or less got put away.  It came back to me when my brother's wife became ill about two years ago.  I found myself playing the song more often and lyrics came.  When she passed away last October, I decided I needed to record it.  I'm not sure if I'm content with it but it is at least a starting point.  The process of recording it caused me to assemble it so it had order and now it means more to me.

I'd be glad to give your song a listen and see if there is something I can add.


Comment by Donna Malus on August 22, 2011 at 9:23pm
Or maybe I'll send it to you and you can play and record it for me

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