The dulcimer is a unique stringed instrument that has been used for centuries to create beautiful music. Its history can be traced back to the early 19th century in the Appalachian Mountains, where it was primarily used as a folk instrument. Today, the dulcimer has become popular worldwide and is used in a wide range of musical genres.
History of the Dulcimer
The dulcimer’s origin can be traced back to the zither, an ancient musical instrument from Persia. The zither was introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages, and over time, it evolved into the dulcimer we know today. The dulcimer was first used in the Appalachian Mountains in the early 19th century and was primarily played by women.
The Appalachian dulcimer is a fretted instrument that typically has three or four strings. The strings are typically made of steel or nylon, and the body is usually made of wood. The instrument is played by plucking the strings with a pick or a finger.
The dulcimer was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s by folk musicians such as Jean Ritchie and Pete Seeger. Today, the dulcimer is used in a wide range of musical genres, including folk, bluegrass, and country.
Types of Dulcimers
There are several types of dulcimers, including the Appalachian dulcimer, the hammered dulcimer, and the electric dulcimer.
The Appalachian dulcimer is the most common type of dulcimer and is played by plucking the strings. It is typically played in a lap or on a table.
The hammered dulcimer is played by striking the strings with small hammers. It is similar in appearance to a piano and is played on a stand.
The electric dulcimer is a modern variation of the dulcimer that uses electric amplification. It is typically played with a pick and is used in rock and roll and other modern music genres.
Playing the Dulcimer
Playing the dulcimer is relatively easy, and it is a great instrument for beginners. The instrument is typically tuned to a diatonic scale, which means that it is tuned to a particular key.
To play the dulcimer, you simply pluck the strings with a pick or your fingers. The frets on the instrument indicate where to place your fingers to create different notes. Once you have mastered the basic techniques, you can begin to experiment with different playing styles and techniques. One of the best ways to learn to play is to play along with Dulcimer tabs.
Buying a Dulcimer
If you are interested in buying a dulcimer, there are several things to consider. First, you will need to decide what type of dulcimer you want to buy. The Appalachian dulcimer is the most common type and is a great instrument for beginners.
You will also need to consider the quality of the instrument. Look for an instrument that is well-made and has a good sound. You may also want to consider buying a used dulcimer, as these instruments can often be found at a lower price.
The dulcimer is a unique and beautiful instrument that has been used for centuries to create music. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician, the dulcimer is a great instrument to learn and play. If you are interested in buying a dulcimer, be sure to do your research and choose an instrument that is well-made and has a good sound. With practice and dedication, you can become a skilled dulcimer player and enjoy the beauty of this wonderful instrument.