People most often ask how I
play the middle strings with the bow...
Well, first you should know that
the bow is drawn on the edge of the psaltery between the silver
pins at a perpendicular angle... The
middle strings are actually the longest strings on the psaltery and attached to
the very top peg... so the middle strings would be the lowest sound (because the
longer the string, the lower the note... and vice versa!). You would draw the
bow between the two top silver pegs on either side...depending if you want a
natural note or a sharp! All the natural notes are on one side and all the
sharps and flats on the other.
That's part of what makes this instrument
so easy to learn and play. If you have any musical inclination...that
includes humming and whistling... then you can very easily learn to play a Bowed
Psaltery! Perfecting your technique is as simple as dragging the bow
across the string for as long as you sing or hum the note to yourself. And
the Bowed Psaltery can be made for Left-Handed people or all those other
My particular psalteries have 32 strings which equals about
two and a half octaves... That'll play just about any song you can think
of. Of course, I'm not a connoisseur of Rap or Punk... but all the lovely
old romantic tunes and melancholy songs from ancient times to present are
absolutely exquisite on a psaltery.
I play Early Music (from the 1100's
and up), Classical, Celtic, Modern, Church Hymns, Christmas and other Seasonal
songs, and even some Elvis Presley (Love Me Tender), Willie Nelson (Blue Eyes
Cryin in the Rain), and Beatle's tunes (Michelle). You'd be amazed at how
hauntingly beautiful this instrument sounds.
I have two of them because so many people want to pick one up
dicker with it while I'm talking about them...
it's just easier to show them
how to play if I have one
and they have my other!
Incidentally, you should know
that the music you're hearing is NOT a psaltery... it's just a pretty midi that
I found and actually learned to play ON my psaltery. You can't imagine how
beautiful this song is on a Bowed Psaltery!
The picture below is a collection of bowed psalteries from a bunch of my friends
on the Yahoo Bowed Psaltery Chat Room... a great place for musical support.
Check it out if
you're a Psalt player!
And obviously, Bowed Psalteries come in all shapes