Hobbyhorse... great job! I like that you were inspired by my epinette built for me by Michael King.
Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
That looks cool, Hobbyhorse-- if you were my neighbor, I'd be knocking on your door to ask whether I could borrow it. :) I've never tried to play an epinette yet would really like to.
The so called Pennsylvania scheitholt isn't really a scheitholt. It was called by its builders and players a zitter or zither. The term scheitholt is/was limited to a very small region of the Tyrolean Alps -- a smaller part of the country than the area in America where a dulcimer is called an Indian Walking Stick. Why Michael Praetorious identified the scheitholt as such in his 1618 book De Organographia we will never know. But most American dulcimer players who see tha sketch automatically assume that that instrument is the ancestor of the dulcimer.
Hobbyhorse is right -- his instrument is an Epinette, one of several varieties of epinette. The distinction has nothing to do with who drew up the plans. There are structural differences between an epinette and a scheitholt and a fretted zither.
I found some information suggesting that the Epinette evolved from the Scheitholt in France about the same time the Fretted (or Mountain) Dulcimer was evolving in the US from similar sources. That would make it a cousin, rather than an ancestor.
There is an interesting discussion of the épinette des Vosges on the web page of a Musical Instrument Museum in Belgium.
There are additional references to FEUILLEE DOROTHEE VAL D'AJOL VOSGES on a French auction website
Jean Ritchie and her husband successfully tracked down a couple of the instruments in France about 1960.
Thanks for the comments Ken and Wally.
The plans were drawn by by a Professor Claude Blandet in 1981 and I suspect it was designed as a building project for school children, but certainly it came from the Vosges area of France. The drawing as such is readable but many of the dimensions are too small to be readable and enlarging the drawing actually made it worse .... I also struggled with the French language and words that were too blurred to read. The heading on the drawing reads Epinette Des Vosges.
Herewith an Epinette built from a rather poor quality plan dating from 1981 and as a result, there was a fair amount of guesswork involved. It is built from recycled Kauri and finished in oil and wax. Tuning at the moment is gggec and I am agreeably surprised at the volume and tonal quality of the instrument.
I saw the youtube clip of one built by Michael J King and was attracted to it and I am now awaiting the plan from him, but this will take several weeks to arrive and I built this as practice run. I have since found that the plan from Michael is in fact the one built for Strumelia ... it is a small world.