Several of us are away at the Somerset Folk Harp Festival, and we may not be able to respond to emails and phone calls as quickly as usual. Thank you for your patience!
Allow us to introduce the newest hammered dulcimer app for iPad! Built by our friend Michael Eskin of AppCordions.com, the D550 Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer app uses sound samples recorded from an actual D550 and plays just like the real thing, except with your fingers instead of hammers. The D550 is tuned in the traditional fifth-interval configuration, with the addition of some chromatic notes at the top and a low super bass bridge on the left.
Here's a demo video that Michael created.
The app is packed full of features, making it a versatile tool as well as a clever toy. The note names can be turned on for beginners and turned off for experienced players or those trying to test their memories. You can switch between hard and soft hammers, and the "shh" icon in the upper right corner will silence the sound completely. It even has an optional feature that allows drag rolls by sliding your finger. A traveling dulcimer player could plug in headphones and work out a new arrangement on the plane, a 4-year-old kid could be introduced to music theory and the magical sound of the dulcimer, and anyone who finds him or herself in the middle of an impromptu jam session without an instrument can pull up this app and join in the fun.
And for the true do-it-yourselfers, how about constructing your own hammers? Our longtime collaborator (and creative inventor) Sam Rizzetta sent these photos of his "quick and dirty" experimental iPad hammers, which use a touch screen stylus tip and a wire routed to the finger grip. (UPDATE: If you're interested in making your own, Sam Rizzetta has very kindly shared his notes on an improved iPad hammer design.)
The D550 Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer app is now available for purchase in the app store. Give it a try and let us know what creative uses you find for it!