CHAPTER 3: History to 1800

3.5 The Baroque, Rococo and Classical Periods 1600-1800

3.5.1 The west

1.2. Higher cultures in the 17th & 18th centuries: Romance language-area

Documentary evidence of 14: 12 of 14



fig. 81b: from Suonata per Salterio, Carlo Monza,
Conservatorio di musica Genua
(Preissler, München)

One of the most exciting discoveries of recent dulcimer research must have been that of finding the scores of a whole corpus of Italian concert music for salterio dating from the later 18th century. It is by no means clear how, or even by whom the discovery was first made, for there are two claimants: the author first heard about the works from H. Karl-Heinz Schickhaus, a choir-director and teacher of folk music and instruments in the Munich Volksschule (adult education) movement, in the summer of 1974, and understood, through a friend's interpretation, that H. Schickhaus had unearthed the works as the result of three years' digging in Italian libraries.

However, in a letter dated 22nd June, 1976, dulcimr historian Paul Gifford (Ferndale, Michigan, USA) indicated that he had found the Italian works in 1968 or 1969, while visiting museums on the Continent in search of a Battaglia salterio tuning, and that his father had sent the one published piece of the group, the Sonata by Monza, to Messrs. Preissler in Munich, having edited it and 'filled in the accompaniment'. This appeared in print in 1972, arranged for Hackbrett and harp by H.Schickhaus, and in the foreword appeared the brief acknowledgement

"Die erste Anregung dazu gab Norman A. Gifford, Withington, USA"

'Norman A. Gifford gave the first stimulus (to the publication of original dulcimer music)'.

Schickhaus describes a number of compositions that he found in the Libraries of Naples, Genoa, Bologna, Berlin and Hamburg, in both of Brigitte Geiser's books: he says he was put on the track of the first work by Eitner's Biographisches Lexicon (1898), in which there was a reference to a salterio sonata by Chiesa, and that six months after first starting on its track, he found it in the Genoa Library. He lists fourteen pieces featuring the salterio viz.

Gasparo ARNALDI 2 Sonatas, salterio, violin and cello
Engelo CONDI
3 sonatas
Melchio CHIESA Sonata a due: Saltero e Basso obligato
Carlo MONZA (1740-1801) 2 sonatas, salterio and unfigured bass
Sabastiano NASOLINI Concerto per Salterio with 2 vns, 2 ob, 2 hn, continuo (1799) - vituoso solo part
Anon 2 Sonate per Salterio
Niccolo JOMELLI (1714-1774) Sinfonia di Salterio con violini e Basso
Paolo SALULINI Concerto con Saltero, due violini e Basso (1751)

To these should be added:
GLUCK, Comic Opera, Der betrogene Kadi (1761), 2 numbers with salterio

Leopold MOZART, Sinfoniein D (1755); there is no mention of a dulcimer in the score, but a reference in a letter to his publisher, that it would be good if there were a Hackbrettlor Cymbal handy, and it would play from the violin part:

"es wäre gut, wenn sie auch ein Hackbrettl oder Cymbal dabei hätten, solches müsste der, so es spielet aus der Violinstimme exerciren".

The works span the entire second half of the 18th century from 1751 to 1799; Schickhaus points out that all are in Galant style (even the latest piece mentions continuo), and of the fourteen, eleven are in G major, the other three being in C. The range of the compositions is contained between g and d''', in all but three cases which extend the upper limit by a tone. A number of them are available on record (see discography), and the Monza sonata is published.

This last-mentioned does not give an aural impression of being highly chromatic, but it nevertheless uses all the semitones within the upper 11th of its range, as in fig. 82b.


fig. 82b - range of the Monza sonata

It seems likely, in view of the chromatic nature of the compass, that it must have been played on a fairly complex instrument, having a tuning such as that of Battaglia discussed above, although a good coverage of at least a partially-chromatic range may also be obtained from a simpler instrument.