/dul"seuh meuhr/, n.1. a trapezoidal zither with metal strings that are struck with light hammers.2. a modern folk instrument related to the guitar and plucked with the fingers.[1560-70; alter. of ME dowcemere < MF doulcemer, dissimilated var. of doulcemele < OIt dolcimelo, dolzemele < L dulce melos sweet song. See DULCET, MELIC]
* * *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.
* * *stringed musical instrument, a version of the psaltery in which the strings are beaten with small hammers rather than plucked. European dulcimers—such as the Alpine hackbrett, the Hungarian cimbalom, the Romanian țambal, the Greek santouri, and the Turkish and Persian sanṭūr, as well as the Chinese yang-ch'in—have for each note two or more metal strings stretched across a flat, usually trapezoidal sound box. They pass over one and under the other of two long bridges, sloping alternately to right and left to facilitate rapid playing with the light beaters. Dulcimers probably entered central Europe from Persia about the 15th century.The pianoforte (piano) is a dulcimer in which a keyboard mechanism operates the beaters. One of its immediate predecessors was the pantaleon, a 5-foot (1.5-metre) or longer dulcimer fashionable in the early 18th century.The Appalachian, or mountain, dulcimer of the United States is a narrow folk zither with three to five metal strings running over a fretted fingerboard, which is set centrally along the dulcimer's entire length. The player's right hand strums with a small stick or quill, and the left hand stops one or more strings to provide the melody.
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