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 in the 1860s, at the same time as Victor Mustel's organologically synonymous typophone, and manufactured by the firm of Thomas Machell & Sons during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The dulcitone is a transposing instrument of the idiophone class; it sounds an octave higher than the standard (eight foot pitch) written pitch. It has a five octave written range from AA to a3 (sounding range from A to a4).
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.
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.
- Rhodes piano, technically an electrically amplified dulcitone.
- Celesta, similar to the dulcitone in that bars are struck by hammers.
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