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[HD] Hammered Dulcimer vs Cimbalom

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Subject: [HD] Hammered Dulcimer vs Cimbalom
From: Roland De Fleur <rolandefleur@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2013 19:09:34 -0400
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This is just a sanity check on my understanding of the differences ... Please correct me where I have misunderstood.


Cimbalom casing is generally a rather heavy solid construction, intended for permanent floor stand mounting. This is due to the high tension stress requirements of 4-string courses of relatively low-guage (thick) strings. The tone resulting is more metallic and piano-like. The casement appears to be 4-8 inches thick. Range is designed to be extensive (more than the HD) from c2 to d6 chromatically. I have been unable to find any good documentation on either string layouts or general construction of an instrument on the internet (at least using the english google search engine). Cimbalom always has dampers because the rigidity of the instrument case/soundboard results in high sustain duration.

Hammered Dulcimer is intended to be a relatively portable instrument with a sweeter more 'harp-like' tone. It generally uses 2- or 3-string courses of medium to fine guage music wire with the lower courses using wound bronze strings. Most instruments are diatonically strung, chromatic layout varies from one manufacturer to another. The casement appears to be 3-6 inches thick. Range is from G3 to D6 but may increase in either direction depending on the design of the builder. Tone relies more on the selection of soundboard material and string size as the structure of the casement is less tolerant to higher string tensions. Dampers are provided on most high-end models.


I realize that traditionally different styles of music are performed on each of these instrument types, my interest is on the overall construction and resulting tone produced because of the choices made in the construction.

Do I understand the difference correctly, or am I way off in certain aspects?
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