A hammered dulcimer is a string instrument made with a sounding board in a unique trapezoid shape. It has diatonically-tuned strings overlapping each bridge. The string sets (courses) are tuned as one. It is played by striking it by a mallet held in each hand.
The hammered dulcimer is believed to have originated in Iran over 2,000 years ago. It is a popular instrument in East Anglia, Wales, Middle East, Northumbria, Thailand, and China. It is also used in playing folk music in America, Bavaria, and Austria.
Types of Hammered Dulcimers
Kinds of Hammered Dulcimers include the following:
American hammered dulcimer
The American hammered dulcimer has a body made of solid rosewood.
Its soundboard is made of veneer plywood in mahogany. It is supported by rods for improved strength and tone.
It consists of 46 strings and 11 right and 12 left courses.
It is played in two octaves.
It has a movable bridge.
It comes with a hard storage case.
Persian hammered dulcimer
A Persian hammered dulcimer has a body made of carved rosewood.
Its consists of 72 strings and nine left and right courses.
It is played in three octaves.
It has a movable bridge.
It is made in Pakistan.
It can come with a hard storage case.
Arched hammered dulcimer
An arched hammered dulcimer has an innovative arched body for sustained tuning.
Its frame and pinblocks are made of rock maple, while the outer rails are made of walnut.
It s unique construction gives it improved volume and tonal balance.
It consists of 11 bass double strung and 12 treble double strung courses.
It can be played in the keys F, C, G, D, and A.
A higher-end model can have six additional notes, giving it a total of 47 notes.
Choosing Hammered Dulcimers (Buying tips)
Skill level: If you are a beginner, choose an inexpensive hammered dulcimer made of walnut or rock maple to practice on. You can upgrade to a higher-quality, rosewood hammered dulcimer as you get better at playing. Number of string courses: Choose a standard 12/11 hammered dulcimer if you are a beginner. As you get better, you can move on to a 15/14 hammered dulcimer with an extra bottom and top notes.
Quality: For quality and accuracy, choose a ready-made hammered dulcimer over a one that comes in a kit that you have to build yourself.
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