A synthesis of a 19th-century folk tradition and 21st-century technology, the Appalachian Dulcimer Archive was launched in 2012 by the Anne Potter Wilson Music Library at Vanderbilt University. Initially conceived more than ten years earlier by David Schnaufer, then adjunct instructor of dulcimer at the Blair School of Music, the database was designed as a "sound museum," exhibiting playable song clips played on historic handmade dulcimers. As well, systematic documentation of these historical instruments has been presented, including photos, dimensions, dates where known, and other provenance information insofar as can be determined.

The items included in this database primarily hail from three different collections:

  • The Straight-Sided Dulcimer in Tennessee
    • Information and photos for the dulcimer variant known locally as the "Tennessee music box" from throughout the Middle and West Tennessee cultural region, with data collected chiefly by Sandy Conatser and David Schnaufer
  • The David Schnaufer Instrument Collection
    • Information and photos for the historical dulcimers of all types from the personal collection of David Schnaufer, now chiefly held by the Tennessee State Museum. Documentation and descriptions by David Schnaufer, Zada Law, and Sandy Conatser
  • David Schnaufer Audio Files
    • Sound files of folk songs recorded by David Schnaufer on various historical instruments

Terms of Use

By using the Appalachian Dulcimer Archive, you agree to abide by the following terms and conditions:

  • Use is Limited to Non-Commercial Educational Purposes Only. The digital reproductions of the materials in the Appalachian Dulcimer Archive (the "Content") may be used only for research, scholarship and other non-commercial educational purposes. Commercial use, including any unauthorized reproduction, republication, sale or other exploitation of the Content, is strictly prohibited.
  • Rights of Copyright Holders. You agree to respect the copyright and other rights of third parties in the Content, and that you will comply with any restrictions on the use, downloading and printing of the Content.
  • Fair Use. Nothing in this Agreement should be construed or interpreted to limit uses of the Content that are permitted under "fair use" and similar principles of law permitting limited academic or educational uses which may apply in your jurisdiction, but you make such uses at your own risk. Images, audio files, text, or other content downloaded from the collection may be freely used for non-profit educational and research purposes, or any other use falling within the purview of "Fair Use."

The Appalachian Dulcimer Archive (including design, audio files, introductory text, organization, and descriptive material) is copyrighted by Vanderbilt University Libraries.