Appalachian Dulcimer

Appalachian Dulcimer

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Description

This Appalachian dulcimer was made by an unknown maker in the United States, undetermined date. It is a straight-sided dulcimer, crudely constructed and held together with nails, with a wood nut and bridge, four strings (2 melody and 2 drone), 14 metal frets, a diamond-shaped sound hole under the fretboard, and a carved out pegbox with 4 carved wooden friction pegs. The collector Anne Grimes was told by the previous owner that this dulcimer came from Corbin, Kentucky.

As per accession records, on a visit with Anne Grimes, members of the famous folk-singing Ritchie family, Jean and her sister Edna, suspected it may have been made by their friend Will Singleton, but scholars later said that it is doubtful that Singleton made this instrument, as “the joinery is poor, and there are no characteristics to link it with Singleton’s construction methods.” A friend and neighbor of the famous Ritchie family, William Singleton made literally hundreds, more than a thousand, of dulcimers in his lifetime.

Anne Grimes (1912-2004) was an American journalist, musician, and historian of American (particularly Midwestern) folklore. Grimes studied voice and piano at Ohio Wesleyan and initiated graduate studies at Ohio State University. Following her education, Grimes was a music teacher, music and dance critic, and radio host. After WWII, Grimes began collecting and documenting folk songs throughout Ohio, as well as collecting Appalachian dulcimers and zithers. She would continue this work, performing, recording, and lecturing on instruments from her collection throughout the rest of her career.

Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
dulcimer
place made
United States
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 6 5/8 in x 42 1/2 in x 11 1/4 in; 16.8275 cm x 107.95 cm x 28.575 cm
ID Number
1996.0276.06
accession number
1996.0276
catalog number
1996.0276.06
collector/donor number
C10
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Dulcimers
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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