Open main menu

Wiktionary β



Photo of a hammered dulcimer
Wikipedia has an article on:


From Old French doulcemelle, probably from Latin dulce melos (sweet song), from Ancient Greek μέλος (mélos, melody, song).



dulcimer (plural dulcimers)

  1. (music) A stringed instrument, with strings stretched across a sounding board, usually trapezoidal. It is played on the lap or horizontally on a table. Some have their own legs. These musical instruments are played by plucking on the strings (traditionally with a quill) or by tapping on them (in the case of the hammer dulcimers).
    The two classes of dulcimer are the "Mountain" or "Appalachian" dulcimer (plucked and played with a quill, usually a goose quill) and the hammered dulcimer (played by tapping on the strings with small "hammers"). See also: zither
    • 1797, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Kubla Khan”, in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems[1], Courier Dover Publications, published 1992, →ISBN, page 59:
      A damsel with a dulcimer / In a vision once I saw: / It was an Abyssinian maid / And on her dulcimer she played, / Singing of Mount Abora.
    • 1947 January 25, “Album Reviews: The Seven Joys of Mary—John: Jacob Niles (Disc 732)”, in The Billboard[2], volume 59, number 4, Nielsen Business Media, ISSN 0006-2510, page 32:
      Accompanying himself with his dulcimer, a plectrum instrument of his own handicraft, Niles harks back to the balladeers of old.
    • 2004, Madeline MacNeil, You Can Teach Yourself Dulcimer[3], Mel Bay Publications, →ISBN, Introduction, page 4:
      Played traditionally, the dulcimer sounds delightful with drones acenting the melody you are playing.

Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit