DULCIMER: The dulcimer is known under many names: lap dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, Appalachian dulcimer, fretted dulcimer and American dulcimer to name a few. This instrument was probably brought to the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries by German settlers who settled in the Shenandoah and Appalachian mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. It was in these mountains that the instrument developed into its present day form. The instrument stayed back in the mountains in relative obscurity, and had almost totally disappeared until the folk revival of the mid 1900's brought a renewal of interest in the dulcimer, generated mostly by Jean Ritchie. The two shapes most popular today for this fretted instrument are the hourglass shape and the teardrop shape, although dulcimers are also made in oval, diamond and rectangular shapes. The instrument is played on your lap. The top of the instrument, holding the fret board and strings and tuning head is glued to the body which has 4 sound holes that can be different shapes such as round, f-shaped, heart-shaped, or even shapes such as flowers or hummingbirds. There are many differences with regards to the instrument's shape, size, stringing and fret patterns. The standard dulcimer is usually between 75 to 90 cm long while the width varies. The sound the instrument makes has a twang or nasal quality to it when plucked but varies from instrument to instrument depending on the way it is made and the wood from which it is made.