Everything about the Dulcitone


What is it?

The Dulcitone is an english instrument designed in 1860 by Thomas Machell by making a keyboard that made sound using tuning forks.

Here’s how it looks and sounds 

Not to be confused with

Pronounced /ˈdəlsəˌtōn/, from the latin word “dulcis” and “tonus”  meaning “sweet tone” and called dulcitone in spanish, french and portuguese. A person that plays it it’s just called a dulcitone player.

Category

The Keyboard family which means that it has a row of keys, buttons or levers that make the sound when you press them and from the subcategory idiophones meaning it makes sound vibrating the instrument.

Materials

Different types of wood, anything from hard maple, oak, beech and mahogany with specific parts that make the keys produce sound made of steel.

Variants

The types are determined by octaves:

  • Style B: with 3½ octaves.
  • Style R: with 4 octaves.
  • Style F: 5 octaves.

Weights and sizes

The size of a style R goes around 32 x 15 x 12 In (81.28 x 38.1 x 30.48 Cm) and has a weight around 60 Lbs (27 Kgs), it may have similar size to electric organs and the weight of a desk.

Brands

We checked a lot of brands and rated them based on customer experience. Models and series are confusing? check this guide. Not picky? you have more options.

The sad reality is that the dulcitone is not produced anymore, it was discontinued in the 20th century, so to get one, you need to get them second hand or order a new one from a manufacturer.

Another alternative is to get a keyboard, or synthesizer that replicates the tone of a dulcitone.

Accessories

Here’s a list of a lot of them, but for this one a stopper to avoid scratching the floor, a cleaning kit with a solution for wood and a metronome to make sure you’re playing music sheets correctly will do the work.

Start playing

We recommend learning to read sheet music to get the basics. We review resources to help you choose how you want to learn. Now that you know how to read them, you need to get some. 

Sheets come in different notations so we recommend checking various versions of the same sheets, searching for “scores” to get all instruments and even the “song name for dulcitone to save on translations, but what you’ll usually get are acoustic piano sheets and the dulcitone will just change the tone and color when you play.

Don’t forget all the details that combined make a big difference like the way you hold it, efficient warmups, positions and techniques.

Remember,the Dulcitone is easy to learn and it will take you a couple of months learning and mastering it, it’s also similar to the clavichord, clavinet, glasshord and harpsichord, so you can combine those resources to help you learn.

Luis Gerardo

Musician as a hobby for +6 years, documenting every instrument in simple words for this website.

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