CHAPTER 3: History to 1800 > Later Renaissance - 16th century

Detailed Treatises - 7 of 8 : Johannes Hutmacher

fig. 58: from Hohannes Hutmacher, Uffzeichnung der Künsten, c.1570, Basel Library; Geiser

The earliest drawing intended to give any significant technical detail about a dulcimer is that of the pastor Johannes Hutmacher, a German who studied at Basel University, and became a priest in Baselland; sometime between 1561 and 1590 he gathered all sorts of recipes and advice for the country communities in which he was working, in a ms of 214 pages which he called Uffzeichnung der Künsten, 'Account of the Arts'.

He devotes two pages to a discussion of the form of the Hackbrett (fig. 58) giving dimensions, firstly of a large instrument, 80cm x 32cm and then of a medium-sized one, 72cm x 28cm, with bridges 2.2cm high. The details of his plan are discussed by Brigitte Geiser (69).

He says how the wrest-pins are made of nails hammered flat, and gives a clear drawing of one, together with a sketch for an elaborate decorative rose. Unfortunately, there is no mention of bridging or stringing, nor any of the practicalities of playing.