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Uploaded on May 1, 2011
The cimbalom is a concert hammered dulcimer, commonly found throughout the group of East European nations and cultures which composed Austria-Hungary (1867-1918), namely contemporary Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The cimbalom is (typically) played by striking two beaters against the strings. In English, the cimbalom spelling is the most common, followed by the variants, derived from Austria-Hungary's languages, cimbal, cymbalom, cymbalum, ţambal, tsymbaly and tsimbl etc.
The concert cimbalom developed by József Schunda in 1874 in Budapest, Hungary was closer in its range of pitch, dynamic projection and weight to the proportions of a small piano than the various folk hammered dulcimers had been. The Schunda cimbalom was equipped with a heavier frame for more stability and dynamic power. It included many more string courses for extended range and incorporated a damper pedal which allowed for more dynamic control. Four detachable legs were added to support this much larger instrument. The concert cimbalom continues to be played primarily with beaters although other playing techniques are used. Concert instruments from Schunda onward are fully chromatic. The Schunda tuning system established a standard pitch range of four octaves plus a major 3rd; extending from C to e′′′.