The hammered dulcimer or hammer
dulcimer is an ancient trapezoidal music instrument with several
courses of strings running more or less parallel to the soundboard.
At least one bridge is positioned so that strings are playable on
both sides of the bridge to give different notes. It is played by
striking the strings with stick-like hammers.
The appeal of this instrument is its flexibility and ease of play.
Unlike the violin or the piano, the hammered dulcimer does not take
years of practice to acquire good playing skills. Many of the best
players do not read music; rather they learn all the "tunes" by ear.
Music is often passed from one musician to another in this fashion.
The most confusing aspect of the hammered dulcimer is its namesake,
the Appalachian, or Mountain
dulcimer. The shared name seems to point to a shared
heritage at some time. Actually,
the two have virtually nothing in common except for the name.
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