The Swiss Hackbrett Associate recently released a book entitled, Hackbrett Repertoire Schweiz. This book is a treasury of standard hackbrett tunes to teach to new members of their organization, and it is a fascinating window into their dulcimer tradition and repertoire. Each tune is presented with a primary melody, a counter melody/harmony part, a bass line and with chords above. They also give the common form for each piece. The primary editor, Reudi Bischoff (profiled in DPN in 1999) explains, "For most hackbrett-players in Switzerland it is difficult to read music and play simultaneously. That's why I looked for a good layout with large notes and enough space between parts."
Most tunes in the Swiss Hackbrett Repertoire book are traditional but a few will be familiar to American dulcimer players, such as "Petronella." There are Swiss tunes, waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, traditional Skottisches (a Scotch dance form), a few Spanish and Balkan tunes, and even a few Irish tunes.
NOTE: The songs on the CD are synthesized rather than played on a dulcimer; this makes them easier to hear when you are playing along with your dulcimer.
Dear fellow hammered dulcimer players,
Even with this second expanded edition the Dulcimer Association of Switzerland (VHbS) set as its goal to make appropriate pieces of music more broadly known. The more pieces we know as a group, the easier spontaneous jamming will be.
All pieces consist of melody, second voice, bass line as well as chords. With these various possibilities, playing becomes more versatile and exciting.
With living folk music, ready-made arrangements are actually not customary. Because arranging is difficult for many, we took up that task-which isn't to say that everything has to be played the way it is presented here. Allow yourselves to embellish the melodies, simplify the 2nd voice or bass line, or otherwise to change the music.
Although it is normal to designate the tune parts as A, B, or C, we decided to number the parts. The simple reason for this is because the first letters of the alphabet are also key designations. There is no more confusion between part and key (is the A part the first part or the A as in A flat major?).
I thank the members of the editorial staff Christina Wald, Susanna Pfister, Susanne Zimmermann, and Urs Bosiger for their work and patience, and their accurate corrections.
We wish you a lot of fun playing music together.
On behalf of the VHbS,