A finger presses a key on a stringed musical instrument - a hammer propels upward from a string and returns immediately downward from a back-check attached to the key - the hammer then strikes the string and rebounds in tremolo sounding of the note. The speed and pressure of finger touch set the loudness of the note, as in the piano, and the desired tremolo tempo, as heard only in this novel keyboard stringed instrument:

Introducing the HAMMERCHORD


Ernie Brock plays the following melodies on the Hammerchord:
Finiculi-Finicula/Torna a Surriento
On Top of Old Smokey/Rocky Top
The Rights of Man/Harvest Home
Dark Clouds Arose O'er the City/Kalinka

Ernie Brock, Professional Musician

Hammerchord player with Bob Cunningham at the Inman Park Festival


A new instrument for the minstrel in you, the Hammerchord is the latest in portable keyboard instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy and accordion. The Hammerchord is played while standing, walking or sitting. The instrument, held by shoulder strap, is played with the right hand and leveled with the left or, for a unique gravity-assisted decrescendo, tilted downward while playing. The shoulder strap also balances the instrument when both hands are used for playing. The tremolo sounding of the Hammerchord is reminiscent of the mandolin or balalaika and the hammered string sound reminiscent of the hammered dulcimer.

The Hammerchord can be played with one or both hands:
    • Hand-made cherry body with spruce soundboard and steel strings, tunable similarly as an autoharp or zither.
    • Keyboard made of holly white keys and rosewood black keys with 22 note range of G above middle C to E.
    • Tuning key and shoulder strap included. Weight 9 ½ lb.

Your satisfaction assured or money returned. Guarantee on parts and craftsmanship.


HAMMERCHORD MODEL 22 $1400, includes shipping.

Mailing Address:

Robert Cunningham 446 Clifton Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30307

(also see other instruments at http://www.cunninghamharps.com)


The dynamics of this instrument make it fun to play, even to move around with while playing because the orbit of the hammers is sensitive to motion. Once you learn to control this motion, the Hammerchord offers dynamic control of loudness and tremolo.

A cut-away model of a key and its mechanism is shown in the photo below. Mouse over the photo to see the action in operation:


The crux of the action is that the touch of the fingers determines initial impetus to the hammers and their arc of swing by means of back-checks that are fixed to the keys. This touch is facilitated for the player in more than one way: For example, as can be seen in the photo above, the hopper is pivoted on the key and comes to rest against a spring also on the key, thus aiding a player to accurately feel the amount that a key is pressed hence adjust the tempo.


U.S. Patent # 6740800

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