dulcimer, 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 psaltery and modern zither. 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 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.
or hammered dulcimer

Stringed musical instrument in which the strings are beaten with small hammers rather than plucked. Its soundbox is flat and usually trapezoidal; each pair of strings produces a single note, and the pairs slope upward alternately left and right to facilitate rapid playing. The Hungarian cimbalom is a large dulcimer with legs and a damper pedal, much used in Roma (Gypsy) orchestras. The Appalachian dulcimer is a narrow zither with a fretted fingerboard and three to five strings, which are stopped with one hand and plucked with a plectrum held in the other.

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Dulcimer may refer to:

Musical instruments:

  • Appalachian dulcimer, a fretted, plucked musical instrument which is also referred to as a "mountain dulcimer" or just a "dulcimer"
  • Hammered dulcimer, a hammer-struck, trapezoid-shaped musical instrument


  • The Dulcimer; or, The New York Collection of Sacred Music, a popular 19th century collection of Christian hymns, compiled by Isaac B. Woodbury

Dulcimer may also refer to:

  • iPod, codenamed "dulcimer" prior to its unveiling

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