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The Cimbalom

The Cimbalom

by Alexander I. Eppler

Originally published in American Lutherie #5, 1986 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

The cimbalom is by far the most sophisticated and highly-developed instrument of the hammered dulcimer world. It enjoys the status not only from the point of view of musical performance, standards, and practice, but also from that of actual construction and design.

The appearance of the instrument is rather grand. Its beautiful carved case stands on four turned legs with a graceful, lyre-shaped pedal. Other than its elegant and compact tuning system (see illustration), what sets the cimbalom apart from all other dulcimers is that it is fitted with a full set of dampers and pedal. The legs and pedal are removable for easy transport, and the instrument also has a lockable cover to protect the strings and dampers when the instrument is not in use.

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