The name “dulcimer”
is derived from the
Latin word “dulce”
(sweet) and the Greek
“melos” (melody). The
dulcimer was probably
brought to England
from Italy in the
The earliest form of the
hammered dulcimer, a member of
the zither family, originated most
likely 4000 or 5000 years ago in Persia.
The dulcimer was widespread in Europe
during the Baroque period, and
Italian composers wrote chamber music
and concerti for for the saltiero.
There is even a Spanish opera
from 1753, where the primadonna
accompanies herself on a sort of dulcimer,
with an orchestra of flutes and strings.
Liszt, Kodaly, Bartók, Stravinsky, Orff,
Boulez and others have composed
for the dulcimer.
“The dulcimer sounds
like the warmth of the sun”
“The way you play is
the lightness of being.”