Sample Tune “Cluck Old Hen” Performed by Leo Kretzner with The Old Gray Cats
Recorded live at Monrovia Traditional Music Gathering
The Fretted Dulcimer (also known as
the Mountain, Lap, or
Appalachian Dulcimer) is a descendant
of instruments which have been played for centuries in Northern Europe.
Early American settlers adapted the instrument, making it easy to build
and carry around.
It has three or four strings and is played on one’s lap by depressing
the strings near the frets with the left hand, and strumming or plucking
the strings with a pick (plectrum) using the right hand. Fretted
dulcimers are generally in an hourglass or teardrop shape. Recently, a
bow was developed, allowing the player to create a sustained drone note
similar to a bagpipe. As with a guitar, the sound is amplified in the
sound box beneath the traditional fretboard or fingerboard.
Players may choose from a wide range of repertoire from very easy
traditional melodies with only two chords for beginners, to advanced
classical pieces. With its warm, sweet sound, the instrument is not
intimidating, and is an excellent choice for a first-time musician.
There are a variety of tunings; the most frequently used are D-A-D,
D-A-C, and C-G-C.
More information regarding fretted dulcimers
may be found at: