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 and manufactured by the firm of Thomas Machell & Sons during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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.
One piece scored for the dulcitone is Vincent d'Indy's Song of the Bells (1888)
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.
- The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments, ISBN 1-85868-185-5
- "SUNDOG: INSOFAR CD Album". Penguin Cafe web site. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
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