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The hammered dulcimer  khim
It is interesting that with the khim a clearly foreign, non Thai instrument today is among one of the most famous solo and ensemble instruments...

It is clearly a follower of the Chinese equivalent "Yang Qin" which surely derived from the Indian and Persian Santoor dulcimers, that were imported to China through the silk road and other trading routes.

The butterfly shaped box of the 42 stringed zither knows two rows of  seven frets/bridges, providing 21 tones and thus 3 octaves of a diatonic scale (which still can be pentatonic if used in an ensemble).

The left row is also beaten behind the bridges in order to resound the higher octave (which requires a precise tuning), thus presenting two octaves for the left hand and one octave for the right hand.

Hammered dulcimers like the khim represent the ancient invention of strings getting beaten by hammers, which resulted in the western piano as well as the various dulcimers in Southeast Asia.  Players of these dulcimers are well reputated for their high playing skills, whether it is a Persian Santoor player or a Thai khim soloist.

Pictures (click to enlarge):


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