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Dulcimers
Dulcimers

Dulcimer & Santoor

Description of the Dulcimer

Dulcimers are a form of board zither that originated in the Middle East. They probably arrived in Europe in the 11th century. It was actually the Europeans who introduced the dulcimers to the Far East in the early 19th century. With slight variations, dulcimers have been found around the globe. They can be plucked or played with hammers. Hammers come in a wide variety of shapes and construction. They may be simple wood, or wrapped with material, some have finger notches and some are straight.

Mountain Dulcimer

The Mountain Dulcimer is hourglass in shape and more closely resembles the zither than the other styles of dulcimer. Mounted along the hourglass shaped soundboard is the fretted neck. The soundboard terminates at the Peg Box. The single, non-course, strings can be noted on the neck while the strings are strummed or plucked.

American Hammered Dulcimer

The American Hammered Dulcimer is usually played on a stand or table. It is trapezoidal is shape. There are two moveable bridges. The Strings run in courses over these bridges between the non-parallel sides. A course is composed of consecutive strings, tuned to the same note. The courses alternate over the left bridge than the right and back and forth. In this way each course of strings provides two tones, one to each side of the bridge. Also, by alternating courses over two bridges four playing surfaces are available, though usually only three are used. The American Hammer Dulcimer has two strings per course. It may be picked, plucked, or played with a bow, quill or hammer.

Persian Hammered Dulcimer

The Persian Hammered Dulcimer is smaller than the American Hammer Dulcimer yet still wider than the Santoor. It is trapezoidal in shape. The left courses are steel and the right courses are brass. They alternate over movable bridges. It has individual movable bridges for each course. It may be picked, plucked, or played with a bow, quill or hammer.

Indian Santoor

The Indian Santoor is trapezoidal in shape. It is not as wide as the Persian Hammer Dulcimer or the American Hammer Dulcimer. The strings run between the non-parallel sides in courses over individual movable bridges. A course is composed of consecutive strings, tuned to the same note. The courses alternate over the left bridge then the right and back and forth. In this way each course of strings provides two tones, one to each side of the bridge. Also, by alternating courses over two bridges four playing surfaces are available, though usually only three are used. These playing surfaces are struck or stroked with light wooden hammers.

 





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