Different versions of the thesis

You can get a copy of the original version of the thesis, on paper or in microform, from the British Library via their web-site; but it's expensive, the pictures are photocopies of photocopies, it was done on a manual typewriter and isn't specially nice to read, and it hasn't been updated since 1976. I recommend that you read it here, and anything you want on paper you can print out as and when you want it. There's a comparison of the two versions below.

There's also a readable overview in The New Grove's Dictionary of Music & Musicians, 1976, article 'Dulcimer' , which many libraries have in their reference departments, and which is accessible on-line

I'm also working on a DVD version, which will include recordings of the players I met in the 1970s, both music and interviews. When it's ready, it'll be announced here - though it may not be specially soon; you can also e-mail me if you'd like me to let you know when it's ready.

Comparison of the paper version and the www version

paper version


  • you can read it wherever you can carry it
  • but 700 pages isn't very portable


  • you need a computer with an internet connection to start with
  • you can only read it where the computer is
  • of course a laptop computer is as portable as a book
  • and you can print out anything you want on paper
  • it's quite expensive
    • $55 for microfilm/fiche
    • $90 for softcover paper
    • $150 for hardcover paper (2 volumes)


  • it should cost nothing to read it
  • if you want paper copies, you have control over the cost, because you choose how much you print, and when
  • not good (photocopies of photocopies)

photo quality

  • good, rescanned from originals
  • typed, with uneven spacing and handwritten corrections


  • made by the computer, much more readable and even
  • typewriter's Courier


  • reader-friendly Verdana
  • 1976

latest update

  • 2003
  • it's as complete as it was in 1976
  • it'll never be updated
  • about two-thirds of it is available so far
    • living traditions
      • British Isles
      • Eastern Europe
      • the Santur area
      • Central Asia
      • The Far East
      • The Pacific Region
    • history to 1600
  • you have to wait a bit for the rest, hopefully it will all be there before the end of 2003, and updated with many references I've discovered since then, and links to other www-sites
  • continuous - topics follow on one after the other
page layout
  • reader-friendly - one topic on one page
  • a bit clumsy, looking for one topic in 700 paper pages
  • index; detailed contents pages
  • elegant, everything is clickable
  • icons for quick recognition
  • only in English


  • you can use a free www service to translate any pages which look specially interesting
    • of course it's a computer which does the translation word for word, so it can be nonsense, but it's usually good enough to tell you if the content is interesting enough to get a proper translation


David Kettlewell
The Dulcimer
PhD thesis
Loughborough University