Stephen Baird - Street Performer

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PO Box 300112, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-0030


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Guitar, Hammered Dulcimer, Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer

Banjo, Mandolin, Appalachian Mountain Dulcimers (Three)


Hammered Dulcimer :

The hammered dulcimer has many names around the world: Santour (Iran, Iraq, Turkey), Santoor (India), Sandouri (Greece), Yang Qin (China), Yanggum (Korea), Khim (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia) Cimbalom or Cymbalum (Hungary), Cimbal (Slovakia, Romania), Tsymbaly (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus), Salterio (Spain) Hackbrett (Germany, Austria) Tsimbl (Klezmer and Jewish), Qanun (Egypt) and Kanoun (Turkey). The majority are strucked with wooden mallets or hammers, but a few are plucked. Most likely it was first developed in Persia in the first century. It is mentioned in the English translations of the Bible in the Book of Daniel 3:5. The piano is essentially an automated "keyed" hammered dulcimer. Dulcimer is a Latin and Greek word for "sweet tune."

In America it was popular in the lumber camps of Maine and Michigan where it was nicknamed the "Lumberjack Piano." In the Southern states it was nicknamed the "Whamdiddle."

For detailed history and background of the instrument visit these sites Smithsonian Institution --Hammer Dulcimer: History and Playing by Sam Rizzetta. Also has page on how to build a hammered dulcimer at Internet site on history: Another site with historical information: Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, India Santoor web site has extensive history of the instrument with sound clips from around the world. Be sure to visit the home page For a sample sound clip of the Qanun visit the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology National Geographic site on Thailand Khim: Sound sample of khim:

Thailand Khim by Jeerasak Iverse Yang quin Yangqin or Yang ch'in  See Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, for detailed page on the Chinese version of the hammered dulcimer. The hammered dulcimer web site by Jon Weinberg with history, links, recordings, teachers, etc. Be sure to visit his web site at:

For lessons in the Boston area I recommend David Neiman (Also has great recordings), 32 Essex Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 Tel: 617-938-8325 Email: Web site:

The dulcimer teachers of Mel Bay publications post an internet newsletter with introductory lessons, sound clips and luthiers instrument makers profiles at:

Andy's Front Hall, PO Box 307, Wormer Rd., Voorheesville, NY 12186 ZTel: 518-765-4193 Email: Web: Has dulcimer, recordings, hammers, and supplies. Bill Spense was one of the people who helped revitalize interest in the hammered dulcimer.

In late April or early May each spring, since 1981, Lorraine Hammond produces a Dulcimer Festival now called the Muddy River Dulcimer Festival. Includes concerts, workshops, instrument makers vendors for both the hammered dulcimer and mountain dulcimer. Visit the festival web site at

Boston Chinese Dulcimer Ensemble (yang gin) directed by Professor Zentian Zang at the Boston Arts Festival and New England Conservatory. web site: Email: Photos: Stephen Baird

Two traditional tunes on Hammered Dulcimer at a Stoneham Theater children's concert. Click on image below to launch movie


Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer:

Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer is also know as the fretted or lap dulcimer. It was developed in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, Virginia and the Carolinas. Jean Ritchie is the national folklife artist of record for traditional Appalachian music. See her web site at

Lorraine Hammond is New England's authority and "God Mother" of Mountain Dulcimers. She teachers classes at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education see also presents concerts and workshops throughout the world as well as published teaching books, cds and videos -- see her site for details at or email Lorraine at

Jeremy Seeger is a fine maker of Mountain Dulcimers. PO Box 193, Rochester, VT 05767; 802-767-3790

The web sites on hammered dulcimer above include information on the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer.


My version of Beetoven's Ode to Joy on Appalachian Mountain dulcimer. Click on image below to launch movie


For a PDF printable version of this information click HERE


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