CHAPTER 5: Dulcimers in other countries since 1800 > Eastern Europe


NB: the Romanian letter is here transcribed as 'ts'

fig. 216: click

A.L. Lloyd has written a brief introduction to the 'cimbalom' in Romania, and Alexandru has a paragraph on the instrument in the French summary which concludes his work; Vicol also has a French summary.

As a result of the establishment of the Schoffler factory in Bucarest, in 1880, the tsambal mare (pedal-tsambal) became popular among professional town musicians, while the tsambal mic remained in use among the country lautari; apart from this social distinction, A.L. Lloyd also makes a regional distinction, between the Hungarian-style arpeggios and tremolos for accompanying slow song tunes, used in Transylvania, the western part which neighbours on Hungary, populated and influenced from there; and the smooth flow of running figures of the East.

fig. 218: click

Fig. 218 shows the use of a shoulder strap.

fig. 219: click

The virtuosity of such performers as Toni Iordache should be mentioned; and a particularly interesting point is brought out by the tsambal mic recorded on the Swedish Rikskonserter LP and the accompanying photograph (fig. 219), that a piece of cloth is evidently woven between the courses to give a dampened sound (c.f. p.221a).


fig. 217: click

An interesting corollary is the instance of the player Ian Dunmur met, when both were performing in Germany: the Romanian was unable to stop and play for Ian for any length of time, but quite unperturbed, simply played his instrument through the soft cover (fig. 217; an interesting parallel, also, with British players such as Jimmy Cooper and Billy Bennington who put a cloth over the strings , and played 'blind' as a party trick.

One other characteristic of the Romanian portable dulcimers is that their trapeze angle is very wide, perhaps as much as 80°.