writers have stated that 'the dulcimer is called salterio tedesco
in Italy' and 'therefore it came from North of the Alps'.
seems that dulcimers came to Italy from the Hackbrett lands, but only
from the evidence of the earliest recorded examples; note, however,
that these are reliable in this context only if complete.
Curt Sachs wrote his dulcimer 'history' from three sources; the 150
sources I found told a completely different tale; and maybe the next
researcher will find 500 sources which give a different pattern again
only original source for the expression salterio tedesco is Bonanni;
all other writers, from Walther (1732, chap 3.) and Kastner (1852) to
Sachs and Dräger & Wünsch, quote from another source;
Walther acknowledged Bonanni as his source, and since the later authors
were less generous in crediting their sources, we must presume them
to have used the same ones.
As mentioned in Chapter 3, Bonanni
portrays a German girl playing in the streets of Rome; it seems that most
later editors, including that of the modern Dover facsimile, have considered
that Bonanni's text was not worth including, and have usually interpreted
the girl as an Italian, playing an instrument for which the normal name
was salterio tedesco.
this, modern writers continue to deduce that the 'psaltery' was known
in Italy, and by definition (albeit one which was by no means generally
adopted in the 18th century) plucked: thus when the hammering technique
was introduced, the instrument took the name of the place whence those
hammers came, i.e. Germany. Such was, apparently, the reasoning of Sachs
and others after him.
even without reading the caption, this can be deduced not to have been
the intention, for the previous plate is entitled salterio turchesco,
universally accepted as being an illustration of something that was
similar to the native salterio but the version known in Turkey
(much as a new small Fiat car might be termed in England 'the Italian
Mini', until its own name was generally known): and by analogy one could
deduce the same about the salterio tedesco particularly when
one reflects that a barefoot girl in peasant clothes does not fit in
with the otherwise-consistent picture, o the duclimer as an instrument
of the Italian higher culture, but does fit as part of the German popular
of course, it is perfectly clear from Bonanni's text (chap.3.5) - as
well as from other evidence - that salterio was the normal term,
and he was not saying 'this is the instrument we call salterio tedesco',
but quite simply 'here is the salterio which the Germans play,
the German salterio': it's an Italian describing a Hackbrett.