Several weeks ago, a weekend television forecaster who was giving the weather report commented that several tropical depressions in the Atlantic looked like “globs of rain” coming towards us. “However, they didn’t present a problem to us, yet.” Well, that graphic description of the weather was comforting to know and very easy to relate to. No fancy statistics, just a simple description. We have recorded more rainfall in Louisiana up to this point that in almost any other year and have had more severe weather than I can remember including an ice storm in February. It seems that almost every afternoon this summer the thunderstorm clouds roll in and we get a rain shower. Sometimes the rain is a nice relief from the heat; otherwise it can be a nuisance. It made me think of the simple tune, “It Ain’t Gonna’ Rain No More.” And so I “doodled” around and arranged the tune for DAD tab. I also realized that this is also a great song for a dulcimer tuned to DAA. Check both arrangements out.
About “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More”
This tune dates back to the late 1800’s and the minstrel and Southern folk song tradition. There are countless variations and numerous nonsense verses. As you play the tune, you can almost imagine it being played in a minstrel show. The song was recorded by Wendell Hall (1896–1969) who was a barefooted, ukulele player known as “The Red-Headed Music Maker.” His 1923 hit of the song included 24 verses and was popular in both US and Britain. It sold over two million copies. It was sung in the 1925 British Football (Soccer) Association finals making it popular with sports fans in Britain. Hall went on to record several other songs and write a couple of ukulele instructional books. Interestingly, this sheet music for “It Ain’t Gonn’ Rain” includes ukulele chord diagrams. The song has persevered over the years and now is a Boy Scout standard.
As you can guess, Wendell Hall’s 24 verses contained several which we would now find socially inappropriate or offensive. Due to the publication date, Hall’s song is now in the public domain. Although we can play his tune without worry of copyright infringement, it’s time to move on to more appropriate lyrics. The Boy Scout version, available on the internet, has updated lyrics plus other variations are available.
Playing the tune on the dulcimer in DAA and DAD Tuning
This simple tune is one which many of us learned in our childhood at summer camps or elsewhere. It’s repetition and familiarity make it a good song to teach to beginners. Plus the song can be played equally well in either DAA or DAD tuning on the dulcimer. In DAA tuning the melody is played entirely on the melody string. Add harmony notes on the middle and bass strings if you wish. In DAD tuning, several of the melody notes must be played on the middle string. Pick or strum these notes.
Many songs which are played in DAA tuning on the dulcimer can also be played in the DAD tuning on the middle string. In this case, the tablature notes for DAA tuning which are played on the melody string are now just moved over and are played on the middle string in the DAD tuning with the same fret numbers. Strum across all the strings — the melody should shine through.
Here are PDF files of the three arrangements which you can download.
Every now and then it’s good to play a tune which isn’t too difficult. “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More” is one of these songs. Enjoy the tune along with updated lyrics. Here is our Ice Storm from February. And we’re still getting lots of afternoon rain here in August.