The Tennessee music box, or box dulcimer, is one of the most enigmatic musical instruments ever discovered. Little is known about its origins, but it is an ingenious folk instrument made of materials at hand in the counties of southwest and south middle Tennessee. The earliest music boxes date to the 1880s or possibly even the 1870s. Playing and construction techniques were passed from generation to generation, continuing through the 1940s. Sandy Conatser is a dulcimer player and former educator. She worked with the late David Schnaufer to document Tennessee music boxes.


Tennessee 101 is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


October 11, 2023


5:30 pm CT

6:30 pm ET