A “Bowed” Psaltery


The history of the “Bowed Psaltery” (web hyperlink: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowed_psaltery) is unclear.  The most generally accepted theories place the origin of the bowed psaltery during the late 1800’s.  However, some people suggest that the bowed psaltery, like the Lute, was brought to the courts of Europe by the Crusaders returning from the Holy Land as early as the 11th century.

Bowed Psalteries are triangular in shape with the strings arranged in a manner that permits each string to be bowed “separately” thus creating the individual notes of a melody.  Set up much like a PIANO, the notes on the “right side” of the instrument are “tuned like the white keys” and those on the “left side”, the “sharps and flats” are tuned like the “black keys” (Note: the instrument can be made “reversely”, to be better playable by a “left-handed” person).

Unlike a violin, each string of the bowed psaltery is tuned to a DIFFERENT note and you do NOT need to “finger” or “fret” the strings when playing.  Another distinction - notes played on the bowed psaltery CONTINUE TO RING after being played, giving this instrument a very “haunting and distinctive” sound while you continue to play additional strings.

The johnRodie “Bowed Psaltery” is a beautiful two and one-half octave (beginning with middle C) instrument that even the “uninitiated musician” can be begin to enjoy immediately.  Standard “play by the numbers” music books, available at your favorite music store, will have you “up and running” in no time.

A “Bowed Psaltery”

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