Well, achording to this map, Me is a minor feature of a typically-strung 16/15 hammered dulcimer. As in, there's a minor scale running pretty much from bottom to top, but only an octave and a half of a major Me scale. "Me" in this case more boringly referred to as "E", in a fixed-solfeggio scheme.
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This really does have many of the typical elements of a geographical map. A definite scale, for instance :-), and a graphical layout depicting physical locations of features. The strong nearly-vertical lines are bridges. The strings (fine lines) go up and over the left, or treble bridge (the thicker lines across it) or alternate ones go up and over the right, or bass bridge (the thick lines to the left of it). Yes, that means both bridges are in the way of half the strings - there's holes through which they pass. The thick line segments are the typical areas one whacks to strike a note. As the left pair of vertical note sets are astride that bridge, the box shapes crossing it are termed mountain chords, whereas those touching the two right sets of notes are valley chords. Of course there's a gazillion other chords possible - the illustrated ones are just the typical types used; those which fit patterns of chords. Using this cunning arrangement of strings, which looks like absolute lunacy to the uninitiated, one can march the same box shape right up the treble bridge, referring to those every-third-string markers (yellow squares, here) and get a circle-of-fifths progression E-A-D-G-C. Sticking to repetitive shapes it's decently easy to play chords to a song by just (ha: "just") shifting the place your right-left-right-left box is centered.
You strike one or two strings at a time, how is that a chord? These things have killer sustain - it's often a fight, design-wise, to keep it down to a manageable level. Trust me, at normal playing speeds, there *is* plenty of blending to get 3, 4, or more notes into rich chords.
There's chromatic tuning patterns too, as well as fewer-stringed and fewer-chorded ones. This is one I'm building though, so it really IS "me".
I won't pretend to understand what precisely is going on, but this is still pretty damn cool.
Am I to assume it has something to do with mapping the Mi of Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Si? Or is it something deeper?
Yup. In American English at least Me sounds exactly like Mi, and that humble pun made me think of music, and a certain unfinished hammered dulcimer in my shop. Hammered dulcimer = santoor = cimbalom = hackbrett = tsymbaly = yangqin = khim, roughly. 16/15 refers to the number of sets of strings - here, 16 that cross the left bridge and 15 interleaved with those, but crossing the right bridge.
Before you have spent time getting used to your specific instrument (there are many possible tunings), then you really DO need a map like this to puzzle out where to play what. Otherwise its like the forest of strings inside a piano, or a harp with no marked strings...
And since one expects maps to have things like a scale and a compass rose (if applicable), I hacked together what I'll call a Scale Rose for this unusual map. The way it's tuned, there's a set of overlapping diatonic scales available (one diatonic scale on a piano for instance is just the white keys), so it is important to know what keys one can play in. If this one is in a jam session and somebody with a fiddle or guitar starts up a tune in B major or something odd like that, I'd need to either stay silent, or cleverly play all the appropriate notes that I could and omit the ones missing from the tuning map. Theoretically, if you are in a group and skip notes, nobody'll notice. In practice, t'would be like doing that on a banjo or bagpipe - as a loud instrument, you're gonna be noticeable.
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... and I even kept the palette tight enough to leave it in .gif :-). That's a game I play - setting myself as many constraints as I can ...