Bowed Psaltery


Playing the Bowed Psaltery

This design, popularized by various makers from the 1920s forward, is ostensibly based on pictorial representations of certain ancient instruments. It’s a clever design because it makes a large number of strings individually accessible to the bow (which isn’t possible with most other bowed instrument designs). This is done by bowing each string in the short accessible segment adjacent to the hitch pins. Because the strings are played open and not damped by fingering, and because they’re bowed sul ponticello (right at the bridge), the sound is especially bright and ringing.

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