Image - A traditional Ukrainian tsymbaly (dulcimer).

Tsymbaly [цимбали; cimbalom or hammered dulcimer]. A folk musical instrument whose strings are struck with two small padded sticks. It consists of a shallow rectangular or trapezoidal wooden sound box with 16–35 clusters of gut or wire strings stretched lengthwise across the deck. Its range is usually three octaves. Originating in Byzantium, it was brought to Europe by the Turks. During the 1600s the tsymbaly became widespread throughout Ukraine, supplanting even the husli (psaltery) in popularity. As an ensemble instrument it entered the tradition of troisti muzyky. Today it remains one of the basic instruments of all folk orchestras.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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