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- 6 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


Several references from the latter part of the 18th century make it clear that the dulcimers were played and sold, and were familiar even to members of the gentry: Shaw (1768 - see below), Burney (diary 1772), and Hawkins (General History 1776), mention the familiar home-grown dulcimer as a reference-point when discussing the activities of foreigners:

(On the occasion when he inspected the Pantaleone quoted in full above)
"The tone was produced by two little baguettes or sticks, like the dulcimer ..." (139)

"The instrument first above spoken of, as exhibited by Mersennus, is in truth no other than that common instrument known by the name of Dulcimer". (140)

On a more practical level, there are dulcimer suppliers in two trade publications from the 1760s. Mortimer's London Universal Directory for 1763 lists among the "musical instrument-makers" (a use of the hyphen which today would indicate musical makers of instruments rather than makers of musical instruments):

"HINTZ, Frederick. Guitar-maker to her Majesty and the Royal Family; makes Guittars, Mandolins, Viols de l'Amour, Viols de Gamba, Dulcimers, Solitaires, Lutes, Harps, Cymbals, the Trumpet Marine, and the Æolian Harp. The Corner of Ryder's court, Leicester-fields. (141)

Thibault et al. give a little supplementary information, that Hintz anglicised his name to Hinds, and was active between 1740 and 1776. Some idea of the instrument's currency may be gained from the facts that of the 31 makers listed, only Hintz mentioned dulcimers, and that even for him it was only one of 11 lines, many of which were presumably subsidiary to the guitars for which he had Royal patronage. Perhaps one may be permitted the frivolity of wondering if he ever tried to interest George III in a dulcimer. The Solitaire listed along with the dulcimer is not mentioned by Marcuse (1964), and one may also wonder if the cymbals were hurdy-gurdies, as they were to James Talbot, to the author of the Harley MS, and perhaps Dr. Power.

The second trade reference is in a list of instruments and accessories printed at the end of The Compleat Tutor for the Flute (142) , published c.1765 by:

"Robert Bremner, Harp & Hautboy, opposite Somerset House, Strand... of whom may be had the following Goods Wholesale Or Retale.

Spinnet s
Violins all Prices
Tenor Violins
Viol de Gambols
Double Basses
French Horns
Kittle Drums
Mando lines
Trumpet Marines
German Flute in Ivory
Ditto in Ebony
Ditto in Cocoa and Box Wood
Small German Flutes
Hautboys and Clarinets
Tolliard or Tenor Hautboys
Bird Organs
Barrel Organs all sizes
English Flutes all sizes
Pipes and Tabors
Fifes for the Army
Bird Flutes and Flagelets
Guitars several sorts
Pitch Pipes several sizes
Harpsichord Hammers
Italian Strings for Violins
Tenors, Basses and Harps

Crow and Raven Quills
Wire for Harpsichords
Little Violins and Kits
Rosin Boxes
Mutes or Sardines
French Horn Mouth Pieces
German Flute ditto
Pens to rule Music Paper
Ruled Books all sizes
Ruled Paper all sorts
Violoncello Bows pillar'd
or plane
Ditto with screws
Violin Bows pillar's or plane
Ditto with screws
Bows for small Violins & Kits
Bridges for Kits, Violins,
Tenors, Viol de Gambols
and Basses
Pegs or Pins for ditto
Tail Pieces for ditto
Harpsichord Hinges and Locks
Spinnet ditto
Bagpipes Scotch or Irish
Aeolean Harps
Welch Harps
Bassoon and Hautboy Reeds
Reed Cases
Desks for Harpsichord or
Violin Cases
Tenor ditto
Cases for Violoncellos
Ditto for Guitars, etc.

N.B. Harpsichords & Spinnets let out.