CHAPTER 3: History to 1800 > Early Renaissance - 15th century

Illustrations - 3 of 15

fig.17: from an Italian ms, c.1490,
BL Add. 34294, fo.37 (Milan)
(reproduced by courtesy British Library Board)

An important point about the Milan instrument in fig.17 is that it is clearly shown to have battens running along the underside, suggesting that the body consisted of no more than a plank - or perhaps two planks together: such instruments do not have a great resonance themselves, of course, but when placed on a table, the battens ensure an air cavity between the instrument and the table, and the resulting volume can be as great as is produced using a box construction. Similar techniques have been used in members of the Appalchian dulcimer family discussed in Supplement 2 and occasionally on other dulcimers; note that a plank construction does not prevent decorated roses being included in the top.