CHAPTER 3: History to 1800

3.5 The Baroque, Rococo and Classical Periods 1600-1800

3.5.1 The west

1.3. The Middle Class in the 17th & 18th centuries: England and the Colonies- 3 of 7

passing references
Glasgow tuning-diagrams
Pepys' Diary
Mr. Pearson at Sadler's Wells
Grassineau's Musical Dictionary London 1740
dulcimers played & sold 1760s-1770s
instrument in York museum
four different spellings


Pepys' oft-quoted references date from about the same time; his is the first mention of the instrument's association with puppets, ad association noticed more frequently in later times, and it is interesting that he heard. it twice within a month, and then never again:

23 May 1662: "There coming much company after dinner to my Lord, my wife and I slunk away to the Opera, where we saw Wit in a Constable, the first time it is acted; but so silly a play I never saw I think in my life. After it was done, my wife and I went to the puppet play in Covent Garden, which I saw the other day and indeed it is very pleasant. Here, among the fiddlers, I first saw a dulcimere played on with sticks knocking of the strings, and is very pretty.

23 June 1662: "Meeting with Frank Moore, my Lord Lambert's man formerly, we and two or three friends of his, did go to a tavern; and there they drank, but I nothing bit small beer. In the next room one was playing very finely of the dulcimere, which, well played, I like well; but one of our company, a talking fellow, did in discourse say much of this Act against Seamen for their being brought to account ... at which I was vexed."

The following year, one Dr. H. Power recorded a list of instruments in his notebook following a chart showing the relationships of notes, clefs and time signatures, and followed by a religious argument, mathematical tracts and so on (135). The list begins with "wind=instruments" - which include "a nest of cornets" and "a noise of trumpetts" -"Strikeing instruments" including "a ring of bells" and "String'd instrumts of silk or gutts"; then come "Instruments wh wire=strings":

Syrcus or great citrans
Stringed cymballs
Whirle cymballs"

- the last-named being in another hand. The placing of the dulcimer after the keyboards but before the instruments with necks is interesting, as is the inclusion amongst the wire strings of the harps and 'guittares'.