Above we see the mother – make that the ueber grandmother – of all hammer dulcimers, to which I aspire someday. This is a big ol’ honkin piece of fabulous equipment that virtually needs its own forklift. For now, I am on the training-wheels model. Look at all those pretty, shiny (I’m supposed to tune a gazillion strings every time?) work of art.
Unlike the various notes on a flute, one string on an HD does not feel differently nor is it hammered differently than another string. To make it even more challenging, there are 3 areas, on the baby model, in which strings may be struck. Their location is confusing though because the pitch of a note does not correspond to its placement on the soundboard. In other words, there’s an F# on a lower location on the far left set of strings that is higher in pitch than the D, that is lower in pitch, that is located on a higher location on the middle set of strings. Confused yet? I was. I emailed my teacher tonight because I could not find my F#. Vanna – I’d like to buy an F#! But it was hiding in plain sight all along. Who knew?
The age old joke amongst those of us who play these beasties is:
Let’s Get Hammered!!