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What Is A Bowed Psaltery?

Simply put, a bowed psaltery is probably the easiest instrument in the world to play. It's a 20" long by 8" wide triangle with strings running its length and is played with a bow.

As you can see by the picture at the right, you play the sides of the instrument only (all strings become side strings as you progress toward the tip of the instrument). One side of the instrument is all natural notes, like the white keys on a piano. The other side is all flats and sharps, like the black keys on a piano. The space between each pin is a separate note.

How Is It Played?

To play a bowed psaltery, simply move the bow against the strings between the posts. Our psalteries have note guides with the letter for each note printed on it. The music has each note identified with its corresponding letter. When you find a song you like you let the letters on the music tell you which letter on the instrument to play, then you let your familiarity with the song tell you when to play a long note or a short note. It's as simple as that.

By picking one or two songs and playing them over and over a number of times, you quickly learn those songs well enough to play for other people, you learn where all the notes are on the instrument and you master the bowing techniques. Instead of weeks or months to learn the basics of the instrument, spend a couple of hours with a bowed psaltery and you'll be well on your way to mastering the instrument.

If you have a music background, you can master the psaltery almost immediately. If you have no music background, you can master the psaltery in a few hours. No other instrument lets you become so proficient so quickly. The bowed psaltery is indeed the ideal instrument for the musically challenged.


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