This ancestor of the piano originated in Iran shortly after the birth of Christ. It illustrates the basic principles of the piano, hammers striking multiple strings tuned over a flat soundboard. Instead of mechanical hammers, dulcimer players use two light sticks ending with broader blades. Forms of the dulcimer migrated as far as China, and modern examples such as the Hungarian cimbalom and Iranian santir continue in use for the folk music of Central Europe and the Middle East.
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