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date: 15 December 2019

Appalachian dulcimer [lap dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, Kentucky dulcimer, plucked dulcimer]locked

  • Lucy M. Long


[lap dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, Kentucky dulcimer, plucked dulcimer]

Fretted zither traditional to the southern Appalachian mountains of the eastern USA, consisting of a narrow fingerboard attached to a larger soundbox underneath. Variant names include ‘delcumer’, ‘dulcymore’, ‘harmonium’, ‘hog fiddle’, ‘music box’, and ‘harmony box’. Long found only in scattered pockets of tradition, the dulcimer has since the 1950s gained popularity outside the mountains; at the beginning of the 21st century it was being widely used by both amateur and professional musicians in folk-based repertories.

The organological development of the Appalachian dulcimer divides into three periods: transitional (1700 to the mid-1800s), traditional (mid-1800s to 1940), and revival or modern (after 1940). During the transitional period the dulcimer developed in the Shenandoah River Valley region of southwestern Pennsylvania through the blending of British (predominantly Scottish) musical traditions with those of other immigrants, who brought with them the German ...

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