(Cembalum, Czimbalom, Cymbalum, Cimbalón)

Mfg. by Schunda

Ca. 1890s. Made in Budapest, Hungary.

Price/Day $
D2, E2-E6

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Emil Richards’ cimbalom was made by Schunda in the late 1800s but he acquired it in 1961, when the previous owner called and asked if he wanted to buy it, as it had belonged to his late father. Often, the writing for cimbalom in films is quite percussive, but Emil used a number of different beaters (wood only, or wrapped with string or yarn) to achieve different timbres on the instrument. Its range spans four octaves, E2-E6, with an additional lower D2 string.



  • From "Danube Incident" of the Mission: Impossible TV series in the late 1960s. The cimbalom starts right away in this clip and continues with a short, slow tremolo motive on every-other downbeat throughout. Composed by Lalo Schifrin.

  • Years later, a cimbalom-heavy part of the "Danube Incident" from Mission: Impossible was sampled for the popular Portishead song, "Sour Times" (1994).

  • Cimbalom plays an integral part of Zoltar's theme in Big (1988) by Howard Shore.

Please note: these are just examples, as playing technique and mallet/stick choices often have a great effect on the timbre.

These sound excerpts, to the best of our knowledge (unless otherwise noted), include this actual instrument from our collection. To hear the instrument yourself, or to let us know of any errors, please contact us.