7 Appalachian Musical Instruments You Might Not Know

Appalachian music has been influenced by a wide variety of cultures, thanks to simple instruments brought by the early multinational residents. Native Americans created this mixed cultural heritage alongside Irish, English, Scottish, and African Scottish immigrants.

The machines were also quite improvised from the simple life of the early inhabitants. In turn, these instruments gave music a distinct meaning.

Therefore, today we have compiled the most important musical instruments that shaped the music of the Appalachian region. Read on to learn more about the Appalachian machines.

1. Appalachian Violin (Violin)

Our first Violin, another name for Violin, a stringed instrument that reached the Appalachian Mountains when Europeans settled in the Appalachians in the late seventeenth to eighteenth centuries.

These early settlers came from parts of northern England, Scotland and Ireland, and of course brought their music and instruments with them.

It was common for society to dance to old dance tunes and tunes from home after a day’s work and the violin was the main instrument to accompany them.

2. Mount Centaur

the Mount Centaur or Appalachian Dulcimer It first appeared in the Appalachian Mountains. In fact, it is one of the only folk instruments actually invented in the Appalachian Mountains.

To look at it, it’s a type of stringed instrument with a fingerboard attached to the wooden box below and somewhat similar in appearance to a violin or guitar.

To play one, the musician lays it flat on his lap and then squeezes the strings with their left hand while plucking or playing the strings with their right.

Although it was used in the Appalachian Mountains for many years, in the 1950s and 1960s it saw little resurgence with the popularity of American folk music rebounding somewhat.

You may have heard that Joni Mitchell plays the dulcimer in her song “A Case Of You.”

3. Banjo

the banjo It is a very familiar instrument when it comes to American folk music as it was popular in the Appalachian Mountains.

The first name given to this instrument was “strum” in 1687 when it first arrived in America on slave ships from Africa. It eventually made its way to Appalachia in the eighteenth century.

Since then, it has become synonymous with Appalachia and is commonly found alongside the fiddle in early Appalachian bands.

4. spoons

Next, we have a file spoons It is a percussion instrument that is played by hitting two spoons on each other. This makes for the distinct clicking sound that musicians use to keep the beat.

Although metal spoons are a more recent addition, it is believed that ancient musicians used animal bones instead to maintain the rhythm.

Although it may seem very easy to hit two spoons together, this technique is actually quite challenging and requires a lot of practice to be able to play some of the more complex beats as you can see in the video above.

5. Mandolin


While the banjo and Dulcimer were the main instruments used in early Appalachian music, the mandolin It began to appear in the late nineteenth century.

To look at the mandolin, it looks like a small guitar or ukulele and they play a similar role in the Appalachian stringed bands playing the harmony with their high pitched strings being strum.

Nowadays, they are an essential part of American popular music that is widely produced in bluegrass music.

6. Washing board

the washing board It is a strange tool in that it is actually a tool used to clean clothes!

The board was picked up by percussionists and played by hitting objects on top of it to create a more elongated sound than tap spoons. They used objects such as spoons or metal thimbles on their fingers to hit the metal washboard.

Some even attach small cymbals, cow bells, or different wooden blocks for more sound options to play. Almost like a mini drum set!

7. Wash Basin Bass

Finally, the wash basin bass It is the instrument that holds the band together at the low end of the Appalachian instrument.

Also known as “Gotbukit‘, it is literally a bucket (or washbasin) that acts as a resonator with a chain attached to it being plucked to create sound.

The musician then adjusts the chord tension by moving a stick so that they can play different pitches of the notes.

List summary Appalachian machines

As you can see, there are a number of unique and interesting folk instruments for the Appalachian Mountains.

Despite their simplicity, they left an impressive artistic legacy and went on to influence many musicians in the United States, both old and new.

We hope our article provided you with all the information you need to know about all these unique Appalachian gadgets.

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