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  1. It depends on how you feel about piano music by its self. The hammered dulcimer is the ancestor of the piano. Just about any music you like [melody] can be played on a chromatic HD. There are limits to that on the more common diatonic HDs. The reason for saying 'melody' Is a piano responds to finger input [10], the HD to hands [2]. so it limits the bass line. Like any other solo instrument, it depends on your motivation and interest.
  2. The nice thing about a chromatic is you can play chords in any key. All that is required is learning the chord patterns in your tuning. Using a 1-3-5 tuning, a capo, or 4 equidistant strings, can help.
  3. I built mine also. I was advised by a pro builder/player in Mt View, AR., to do some research before I did. Started building MD's as I learned about, and acquired material for, the HD. I haven't played it in years though.
  4. Nothing [continue playing], as long as you have all of the notes called for. Some of these notes may require extra frets [probably the 1+/8+] or a chromatic MD. The change of the key in the notation is to make writing the tune simpler/faster/easier, in this case not having to use the 'b' [flat] sign or the C/C# is not used.
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