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A version of the hammered dulcimer has been played in Mexico for a very long time. Instead of being hammered, the salterio is plucked, and also has a chromatic tuning.


Years ago I met the leaders of the fine DulceMelos ensemble of Querétaro, Héctor Larios and Alejandra  Barrientos.   I agreed to try to build an improved salterio for them. Mexico is justifiably proud of its rich culture, and I have attempted to preserve the traditional form and sound of the salterio while adding an extra note to the treble, reducing the weight, and improving the tuning stability.


The 17th century salterio tuning was based on G3. The modern Mexican instruments  are centered on D, the tenor on  D3 ( like many hammered dulcimers) and the requinto on D4, an octave above that.  The tenor has a sapele soundboard. The requinto can use the same, but, because of its very high range, it also benefits from a carbon fiber laminate soundboard, which gives a special brilliance.

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