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dulcimer

This trapezoid dulcimer is made of wood covered with veneer, with inlaid decoration in a design of Roman warriors. The hitch pins and wrest pins are concealed by two hinged lids. The instrument is strung with 12 treble and 11 bass strings. There are 4 strings on each treble course and 3 on the bass, apart the lowest bass one which is a single wire-wound string. There are 4 holes for a further (presumably treble) course at the top but these are unused as they are too high up. The soundboard has 4 soundhole designs outlined in gold paint.
The instrument would probably have been tuned in the traditional Birmingham style. The treble would have been as follows: right hand side of the bridge C# (above middle C), D, E, F#, G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G. The left hand side of the treble bridge would be a fifth higher. The bass bridge would have been probably a low G on the wound bass, then all the notes an octave below the corresponding treble (the bass string above the treble one), i.e. D, E F, etc.
At the back of the instrument is a table stand on which the instrument rested while being played. A short pole would have been inserted in a hole in this stand to raise the back of the instrument up higher. The damage which can be seen to the left hand side of the front rail is likely to be as a result of movement causing the veneer to crack. The front veneer is also damaged.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. More information on the objects listed on our website.
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