The Great Dulcimer Search
Dulcimers come in several sizes, though the shape is usually that familiar trapezoidal one. In different countries it exists with a variety of names ... cimbalom, hackbrett, salterio, sandouri, tympanon, santur, hakkebord ... the list goes on.
- Have you ever wondered what these different members of the dulcimer family look like?
- How were they tuned?
- How were they played?
- How many strings did they have?
- How many bridges, what was their shape and where were they placed?
The museums of the world are the places where a lot of these questions can be answered. Collecting and preserving instruments and making them available for display and study ... that is their role. Everyone benefits when museums do their work well.
So where are the great dulcimer collections in the world? And small collections, too? For the past ten years or so, I've been studying dulcimers in museum collections with the view of publishing a checklist, so that you dear reader, may visit a museum armed with some knowledge of what that collection may hold.
This is salterio MDMB 484 in the Museu de la Musica in Barcelona. The soundboard paintings are gorgeous. There are six strings per course and two beautiful parchment rosettes in the soundholes.
Some of the places which have interesting dulcimer collections are:
The Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan, USA
Horniman Museum, London, England
Edinburgh University Collection of Historical Musical Instruments, Scotland
The Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, Germany
Muziek Instrumenten Museum, Brussels
Munich Stadtmuseum, Germany
Museu de la Música, Barcelona, Spain
Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany
Vleeshuis, Antwerp, Belgium
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands
and there are many more of course.
Here's where you can help. If you know of a museum which has dulcimers ... it may be only one ... please contact me with the details. I am compiling this checklist of dulcimers from different traditions, which were made before 1970. I've set that date as generally predating the large revival of dulcimers in the USA. Please contribute to a worldwide piece of research so that we all benefit.
Any questions? Gillian.Alcock@netspeed.com.au
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