Soubor valašských písní a tanců VSACAN




Duncimal musics

The dulcimer is a multi-string striking instrument whose strings are sounded by striking with sticks, rarely by finger strumming. It originated from the Persian-Arab culture and was first mentioned around the 12th century.

In Europe it evolved from:

1. psalterium - hackbrett - pantelon
2. gusli - brnkadlo (striker) - little cimbal - big cimbal (dulcimer)

The dulcimer as we know it now has got from 35 to 39 string choruses which enable from 50 to 60 tones. In different times and different countries, the instrument has gone through various shapes and names as the psalterium (from the Greek psallein - to strum, the hackbrett - in the German countries, a dulcimer in English (derived from Latin - dulce melos - a sweet song) or cymbalum, especially used in Central Europe, cimbal in Czech and Slovak, cimbalom in Hungarian, tsambal in Romanian which is equal to our profile recording. In Bohemia and Moravia, dulcimers have been used for centuries. In museums in Bohemia and the neighbouing countries, there are about 200 of these instruments, dating back to as far as 17th century. The dulcimer as a part of living music disappeared first in Bohemia and and at the eve of the 19th century was rarely used even in Moravia, except Wallachia. During the first half of the 20th century, bigger instruments of Hungarian made were imported to Moravia (from a Czech maker J.V.Schunda in Budapest). The first owners - Joza Orsag-Vranecky and Antos Frolka became musical patterns for their followers. After 1945, the folklore music flourished and the dulcimer with it. Though it was not the small portable dulcimer but the big Hungarian instrument with a pedal. The company called Lidl started to make these instruments even in Czechoslovakia, under the brandname Primas. The dulcimer play began to be tought at Folk Art Schools and at universities. Many transcriptions were made and some composers wrote new opuses. This dulcimer revival went on in Hungary and Romania as well.Excellent cimbalists from these countries had a great influence on Moravian players. At one hand, it improved the excellence in playing and harmonic thinking, on the other hand, it sometimes wiped out the Moravian identity a bit. In spite of it, a strong dulcimer tradition have been established in Moravia, thanks to its excellent players. Most of them play in the folklore environment which sets their roles in contingent recordings. In recent years, when the world have been interconnected through the world music, we miss a project here, which would emancipate the dulcimer as a solo instrument and put it above the local scenes.

Within the Vsacan ensemble, there are five dulcimer bands at present.

The VSACAN Dulcimer band
The VSACANEK Dulcimer band
The MALY VSACANEK Dulcimer band