Dulcitone

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Dulcitone, display at the Palace of Cortés, Cuernavaca, Mexico

A dulcitone is a keyboard instrument in which sound is produced by a range of tuning forks, which vibrate when struck by felt-covered hammers activated by the keyboard. The instrument was designed by Thomas Machell of Glasgow and manufactured by the firm of Thomas Machell & Sons during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

A significant feature of the dulcitone was its portability, a product of its lightweight and compact construction and the fact that the tuning forks (unlike, for instance, the strings of a piano) were not prone to going out of tune. However, the volume produced is extremely limited, and the dulcitone's part is frequently substituted by a glockenspiel.[1]

One piece scored for the dulcitone is Vincent d'Indy's Song of the Bells (1888)

In 1911 there were 3 versions listed: Style B, with 3½ octaves in solid mahogany (polished Chippendale) or in solid oak (fumed) complete with folding stand, for £12; Style R - in mahogany or oak with 4 octaves for £15; Style F - in mahogany or oak with 5 octaves, for £18.

Surviving examples exist as far afield as New Zealand, where one is preserved in the Whittaker's Musical Museum.

The dulcitone continues to play a role in popular music. Arthur Jeffes of Penguin Cafe plays a dulcitone on several tracks of his 2012 album Insofar.[2]

Greg Cook of the Vagaband also plays dulcitone on their 2012 album "Town and Country", most notably on the track "Send in the Cavalry".[3][4] [5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments, ISBN 1-85868-185-5
  2. ^ "SUNDOG: INSOFAR CD Album". Penguin Cafe web site. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  3. ^ https://www.facebook.com/thevagaband/info
  4. ^ http://www.thevagaband.co.uk/Home.html
  5. ^ http://www.americanrootsuk.com/the-vagaband---town--country.html

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Rhodes piano, technically an electrically amplified dulcitone.