The Hammered Dulcimer: A History

Overview

The last quarter of the twentieth-century saw a renewed interest in the hammered dulcimer in the United States at the grassroots level as well as from elements of the Folk Revival. This book offers the reader a discussion of the medieval origins of the dulcimer and its subsequent spread under many different names to other parts of the world. Drawing on articles the author has written in English as well as articles by specialists in their own languages, Gifford explains the history and evolution of the instrument....
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The Hammered Dulcimer: A History

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Overview

The last quarter of the twentieth-century saw a renewed interest in the hammered dulcimer in the United States at the grassroots level as well as from elements of the Folk Revival. This book offers the reader a discussion of the medieval origins of the dulcimer and its subsequent spread under many different names to other parts of the world. Drawing on articles the author has written in English as well as articles by specialists in their own languages, Gifford explains the history and evolution of the instrument. Special attention is paid to the North American tradition from the early 18th-century to the 1970s revival. Drawing from local histories, news clippings, photographs, and interviews, the book examines the playing of the dulcimer and its associated social meanings.
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Editorial Reviews

Dirty Linen
No one knows as much about the dulcimer as Paul M. Gifford, and he has distilled decades of study of the instrument and its history into a fascinating and readable book of some 400 pages...an important addition to our understanding of the folk music revivals of the late 20th century.
Journal of The American Musical Instrument Society
In this important, impeccably researched book, Paul Gifford traces the evolution and musical history of the hammered dulcimer...Gifford's book should become the standard one on the topic of hammered dulcimers. It is a welcome addition to the literature on musical instruments in general as well as to Scarecrow Press's fine series American Folk Music and Musicians.
Choice
Gifford (Univ. of Michigan, Flint) offers a fascinating history of a number of instruments considered "hammered dulcimers,"...Well researched and documented, critical of some conventional wisdom, and not technically overpowering, this book will speak to students from high school and up to scholars and college faculty.
Journal Of The American Musical Instrument Society
In this important, impeccably researched book, Paul Gifford traces the evolution and musical history of the hammered dulcimer...Gifford's book should become the standard one on the topic of hammered dulcimers. It is a welcome addition to the literature on musical instruments in general as well as to Scarecrow Press's fine series American Folk Music and Musicians.
CHOICE
Gifford (Univ. of Michigan, Flint) offers a fascinating history of a number of instruments considered "hammered dulcimers,"...Well researched and documented, critical of some conventional wisdom, and not technically overpowering, this book will speak to students from high school and up to scholars and college faculty.
Booknews
When he began research, archivist and librarian Gifford (U. of Michigan-Flint) discovered that many cultures of the world have a version of the hammered dulcimer, and each considers it their own traditional native instrument. He traces its origins and subsequent history, emphasizing its place in American history and music. Except for the chronological chapters on the US, he treats each tradition under its native name, among them Hackbrett, cimbalom, salterio, and santur. He seems to have missed the Japanese butterfly entirely. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810839434
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 4/15/2001
  • Series: American Folk Music and Musicians Series , #6
  • Edition number: 480
  • Pages: 482
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul M. Gifford is an Associate Archivist at the University of Michigan-Flint Library.
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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Figures
Maps and Tables
Musical Examples
Foreword
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Forerunners 7
3 The Dulcimer's Origins 25
4 The Santur 45
5 The Hackbrett 65
6 The Cimbalom Family 103
7 The Pantaleon 165
8 The Salterio 171
9 The French Psalterion and Tympanon 189
10 The Yangqin Family 195
11 The Dulcimer in the British Isles 213
12 The Dulcimer in America, 1717-1850 239
13 The Dulcimer in North America, 1850-1900 251
14 The Design of Nineteenth-Century American Dulcimers 289
15 The Dulcimer in North America, 1900-1975 313
16 The Dulcimer's American Revival 351
17 Dulcimer to "Hammer(ed) Dulcimer": Transformation of the Instrument since 1970 373
App. 1: Tunings 393
App. 2 Michigan Dulcimer Players Identified in 1910 Census 409
Select Bibliography 413
Index 427
About the Author 440
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2005

    Indispensible Resource

    Paul Gifford has successfully presented the history of the hammered dulcimer in North America from the 1600's to the present. Full of photographs, illustrations, tuning charts, etc., this history effectively informs those interested in this beautiful traditional instrument about its history and its many variations. As the proprietor of Ardie's Handcrafted Hammered Dulcimers, I frequently get asked about old hammered dulcimers, and this is my first and primary reference tool. Well worth the price.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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