CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > 'British' dulcimers 1800-1945

Dulcimers in 19thC. literature?

There is apparently a complete dearth of literary references to the dulcimer in England after Coleridge, apart from the Bible, and a solitary mention in Edgeworth's Good French Governess of 1801, of "the little boy belonging to the dulcimer man" (1).

References to it abound, however, in the writings of educated musicians:

"... not yet entirely fallen into disuse ... now used by street musicians, to whom it is confined..."

wrote Charles Knight in his 1860 Cyclopaedia, and he was echoed by a number of writers in the 1890s; most are a little disparaging, but they are much kindlier in their late-Victorian enlightenment than were their Baroque predecessors:

"A favourite instrument which even now may occasionally be met with" (2);

"the picture he (Kircher) gives is remarkably like the dulcimers which may be seen and heard outside public-houses to this very day" (3).

"much less commonly met with in England than formerly, but it is still to be heard in some rural districts, as the musical accompaniment of a puppet-show" (4).

dulcimers and puppets:
Samuel Pepys, 17thC.