ID a musical instrument

I was watching a television show the other day and one of the characters was playing a musical instrument at a concert. I’ve looked all over the internet to figure out what the instrument is called, but so far, I’ve come up with nothing. Here’s a quick description of it: it is about 2 feet long and shaped like a rectanglular box. It is played by plucking the strings, and it rests in your lap. And that’s about all I remember about it. If I see a picture, I’ll probably recognize it. But I’m curious to know what it’s called. Hope you guys can help!

Is it an autoharp?

Does the musician use both hands to play, one to pluck and one to select notes guitar style ?

What period of music was being played ?

Elizabethan ?
Baroque ?
Mozart ?
Modern stuff ?

Was it a Kleenex box with rubberbands stretched around it?

Sorry, couldn’t resist…

No, it isn’t an autoharp. It was much longer than that. The musician used one hand to play and the other to hold down the appropriate strings. It was a modern song.


Sounds like a dulcimer. They have various shapes. See and

A mountain dulcimer perhaps?

Here’s a picture.

Yup, I’m gonna guess a mountain or Appalachian dulcimer.

Wow! I should have hit refresh…

Yep. Its a dulcimer. You see, I knew that I could count on you guys. :smiley:

Aw, come on. No one picked up on the username xanadu, asking questions about dulcimers?

Sound familiar anyone?

Actually, when I picked my username, there was a magazine nearby opened to a review of the Olivia Newton-John movie “Xanadu”. I thought it sounded like fun, so I picked it. Not to mention that it is also a Mardi Gras Krewe name - (I’m from Louisiana, so Happy Mardi Gras, people!) so that made it even better. Personally, I think that Mr. Coleridge might have been on a little somethin’ when he wrote that poem…

Honestly, I haven’t read it. I had no idea.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”

Opening lines:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.