Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to dulcimer: hammered dulcimer, shawm


(dŭl`sĭmər), stringed musical instrument. It is a wooden box with strings stretched over it that are struck with small mallets. The number of strings may vary. The dulcimer is related to the psalterypsaltery
, stringed musical instrument. It has a flat soundboard over which a variable number of strings are stretched. Its origin was in the Middle East, and it is referred to in the Bible. It appeared in Europe in the 12th cent. and flourished until the late Middle Ages.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and modern zitherzither
, stringed musical instrument, derived from the psaltery and the dulcimer. It has a flat sound box over which are stretched from 30 to 45 strings; these are plucked with the fingers and a plectrum. In the 18th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
. It originated in the Middle East and was adopted in Europe in the Middle Ages. It is known, in varying forms, in Turkey, Iran, China (including Tibet), and other parts of Asia, the Middle East, and N Africa. The popularity of the dulcimer continued in Western Europe until the 17th cent., when it sharply declined, though a German, Pantaleon Hebenstreit, enlarged it to make an instrument called the pantaleon in the early 18th cent. It is still much used in Eastern Europe in Romani (Gypsy) bands. In Appalachia a plucked dulcimer very similar to the zither is popular. It has an elongated hourglass shape and is held on the player's lap.



a hammered stringed instrument. The dulcimer consists of a flat wooden body in the shape of a trapezoid, with strings stretched over the upper soundboard. The sound is produced by striking two wooden sticks or hammers against two to five metal strings. The instrument’s range extends from E in the bass clef to E in the third octave.

An ancient instrument, the dulcimer is depicted on ancient Assyrian monuments. It has been known in Western Europe since the 18th century; it achieved its greatest popularity in Hungary and Slovakia. The Moldavian (ţambal, the Armenian and Georgian santir and tsintsila, and the Uzbek chang are all related to the dulcimer. The chromatic dulcimers developed in the late 19th century by the Hungarian master craftsman V. Schunda formed an instrument family by adding an alto, bass, and contrabass dulcimer to the original dulcimer; such dulcimers are used in folk orchestras. In 17th-century Russia the harpsichord was called a dulcimer.

I. F. Stravinsky included a dulcimer part in The Fox and Ragtime for 11 instruments.


Modr. A. Muzykul’nye instrumenty. Moscow, 1959. Pages 80–82.


1. a tuned percussion instrument consisting of a set of strings of graduated length stretched over a sounding board and struck with a pair of hammers
2. an instrument used in US folk music, consisting of an elliptical body, a fretted fingerboard, and usually three strings plucked with a goose quill
References in periodicals archive ?
As its name suggests, this particular dulcimer was intended to be played by two individuals seated across from each other, with one strumming the drone strings, while the other played the melody.
Near Asheville, NC Hammered Dulcimer Music: John Mason, Chimney Rock Park's featured performer, plays beautiful hammered dulcimer music for Park guests, 10am-4pm.
The Q's supplement their guitar-based sound with a sweep of exotic instrumentation; Clavioline, glass harp, dulcimer, bagpipes, muted trumpet, harpsichord, turntables, tamboura, sitar and chang contribute to the album's rare atmospheric beauty, reinforcing Royal Academy's poetic themes.
The band plays a wide range of instruments from hurdy-gurdy, which is Quentin's province, plus Hammer dulcimer (Amanda's territory), vocals, cittern, bag-pipes, shawm, kit drums, bass, percussion and didjeridu.
Among her publications were A Garland of Mountain Song (1953), Singing Family of the Cumberlands (1955), The Dulcimer Book (1964), Jean Ritchie's Swapping Song Book (1964), Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians (1965), and Jean Ritchie's Dulcimer People (1975).
Tsar, being much bigger than Dru or her sister Dulcimer (Dulcie), took up the whole rug.
The kantele is a traditional plucked string instrument of the dulcimer and zither family native to Finland.
9; Celtic Tradition trio consists of Linda Danielson (fiddle, vocals), Janet Naylor (harp, vocals) and Joe Ross (mandolin, guitar, concertina, hammered dulcimer, vocals); bring blanket and picnic; supported by Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce member businesses; rossjoe@hotmail.
The music for the performance will be performed by Veronika Aloneftou on percussions and dulcimer.
This is strange and different music, featuring some unusual instruments such as dulcimer, harpsichord, gimbri, tabla, Jew's harp , spoons, soondri, shanai and clay drums.
Backing up their gentle vocal harmonies with acoustic instruments like hammered dulcimer, guitar, bansuri flute, and tabla, Lakshmi and Ananda take the listener on an imaginary boat ride down a sacred Indian river, with each song depicting a new encounter with a deity such as Gayatri, Govinda, and Ganesha.
Chart star Labrinth has handed over a guitar, while Laura Marling has given a dulcimer as people around the UK pitch in help provide instruments for primary school children in need.