A Hammer Dulcimer

 
 

The Hammer Dulcimer is a stringed musical instrument with the strings stretched over a trapezoidal sounding board. Typically, the hammered dulcimer is set on a stand, at an angle, in front of the musician, who holds small mallet hammers in each hand to strike the strings.  The dulcimer's origin is uncertain, but tradition holds it was invented in Iran (Persia) some 2000 years ago where it is called a "santur".

 

A Hammer Dulcimer

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The hammers are usually made of wood (most often hard woods), but can also be made from any material, including metal and and plastic.  The head of the hammer can be left bare for a sharp attack sound, or can be covered with felt or leather for a softer sound. Two-sided hammers are common.  Most of the time, one side is left as bare wood while the other side may be covered in leather or a softer material such as piano felt.

Video “to come soon”

our “nosy” kitten “Sherri”

The johnRodie version of the Hammer Dulcimer is a "17/16" stringed instrument, meaning that it has 17 treble "pairs" (called "courses") of strings, and 16 bass pairs (courses), with each pair tuned to the same pitch.  The strings on "both sides" of the treble bridge are played, but only the strings on the "left" side of the bass bridge are played.  The strings on the "left side" of the treble bridge are a "fifth" of the notes played on the "right side" of the treble bridge (i.e. - "do" on the "right side" and "sol" on the "left side").