The cimbalom, an elaborate stringed instrument found mainly in the Central and Eastern European nations, belongs to the dulcimer family and is played by striking metal strings mounted over a trapezoidal soundboard. Associated with the music of the Hungarian Gypsies, the cimbalom is a symbol of Hungary as well as its national instrument. Cimbaloms come in varying sizes, tone groupings, and string arrangements. A modern cimbalom consists of 125 steel and copper strings that are stretched across a trapezoidal wooden box. The treble strings are made entirely of steel while the bass strings are over-spun with copper. Performers typically play the instrument by striking the strings with two mallets whose ends may be left bare or covered with a fabric such as cotton to create various tone qualities. The emergence of the cimbalom in classical music helped to popularize the instrument outside of Eastern Europe. Besides folk, classical, and film compositions, the cimbalom also plays a role in rock music. A key figure in the history of the cimbalom is Aladár Rácz, a great cimbalom player known for creating cimbalom adaptations of Baroque harpsichord pieces. Rácz began learning the instrument at the age of three and performed with Hungarian folk music ensembles throughout Budapest. Today, one of the foremost Hungarian cimbalom players is Kálmán Balogh, a graduate of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music who has completed many successful tours with various ensembles around the world. His music connects ancient folk traditions with elements of jazz to bring a dynamic and unique experience to audiences. Now, to conclude let’s listen to an excerpt from a piece of traditional folk music performed by Kálmán Balogh.