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Songs for Bowed Psaltery?

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Naemanson 30 Jun 00 - 04:43 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 30 Jun 00 - 10:12 AM
Lanfranc 30 Jun 00 - 05:47 PM
wildlone 01 Jul 00 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,harpgirl 01 Jul 00 - 05:37 PM
wildlone 01 Jul 00 - 05:49 PM
Kernow John 02 Jul 00 - 05:28 PM
Liz the Squeak 03 Jul 00 - 09:37 AM
Roger in Sheffield 03 Jul 00 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Phil Cooper 03 Jul 00 - 06:19 PM
Liz the Squeak 03 Jul 00 - 07:32 PM
Nathan in Texas 03 Jul 00 - 10:32 PM
Naemanson 04 Jul 00 - 12:37 PM
Duane D. 13 Jul 00 - 12:58 PM
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Subject: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: Naemanson
Date: 30 Jun 00 - 04:43 AM

Hi All,

A friend recently gave/loaned me a bowed psaltery she had kicking around. I tuned it up and love the sound. I have heard these on very few recordings most notably Sally Rogers and someone doing "Are You Tired Of Me?"

Are here any suggestions for other songs or types of music that would go well on the psaltery?

I have been experimenting but it will be a while before I'm playing it easily enough to just rattle off a tune on the thing.

As an aside I'm also curious about the history of the instrument. Someone looked at it and thought it a medieval instrument but it seems to me I've heard that these were part of the odd-instrument-mail-order craze of the 19th century.

Thanks,

Naemanson


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 30 Jun 00 - 10:12 AM

It's a great instrument for playing Carolan on. Gives Fanny Poer a really ethereal sound.


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: Lanfranc
Date: 30 Jun 00 - 05:47 PM

If you can sing and simultaneously play a bowed psaltery, you're a better man than I am, Naemanson!

I use it to play an intro to "She's like the swallow" and "She moved through the fair", but pause playing while singing.

My party piece tunes on the psaltery are "Here's that rainy day" and "Misty", but I do play O'Carolan and the Tallis theme used by Vaughan Williams. The tune used by Thaxted Morris to accompany the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance also fits it well, especially if you can find someone to play triangle with you (Two triangles together!!) - Spooky in the right setting.


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: wildlone
Date: 01 Jul 00 - 05:27 PM

A lot of the Playford tunes sound good on the bowed psaltery Pete Shutler of the Yetties plays Nonesuch and Hundson's house. I found that Lulay Lulay is very easy to pick up.
With reference to the age I to have been told that it date's from the 14th to 15th century. Also that the first time it appeared in print was in the 19th century. But there are carvings on European churches showing instuments very similar being played with a bow.
dave full of obscure and useless knowledge.


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: GUEST,harpgirl
Date: 01 Jul 00 - 05:37 PM

...two tunes I like to play on the psaltery are Simple Gifts and Black Jack Davey. We had a thread on psaltery. I will look for it and bring it up...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: wildlone
Date: 01 Jul 00 - 05:49 PM

some sites of early music including midi's
http://www.bcpl.lib.md.us/~cbladey/guy/html/music.html
http://sca.uwaterloo.ca/~praetzel/playford.html
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5567/playford.html

a list of links to early music/folk

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/martin.nail/Folkmus.htm

I am not very good at blue clicky things but if you cut and paste to your address bar they should work
dave


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: Kernow John
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 05:28 PM

A friend of mine from 'Hanging Johnny' uses the Bowed Psaltry quite a lot to accompany himself singing, from memory
Shenandoah
Shallow Brown
Adieu Sweet Nancy
A tune I play is Ar Erin and you might like to try Star of the County Down as a waltz.
have fun
Baz


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 09:37 AM

Searching for lambs is a great tune for this instrument - it's the only one I can play on my bowed psaltery with is so badly in need of attention....

We had a rubber bat that we hung on ours, so we could say that we had a bat and psaltery (assault and battery? Oh forget it!).

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 01:42 PM

Fanny Poer???

That has me in stitches!!!
Fanny has a different meaning in England and Fanny Power always makes me laugh anyway
I suppose in the US it could be a butt exercise machine?
Anyway I need to see one of these thingymys (Salty Bow) or read a description

Roger


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 06:19 PM

I've heard two stories on the bowed psaltery's origins. One is that it is medieval (the biblical version was plucked)and the other is that it was developed to help Waldorf School students understand music theory better in the 1940's. I had also heard that Barry Dransfield used a bow on one in the '70', thus starting the craze. All the songs mentioned above sound like good Psaltery tunes. I also like to play Lakes of Ponchartrain, Parcel of Rogues, Lagan Love, and Will Ye No Come Back Again. Another big hit in our sets is the Swedish children's hymn Children of the Heavenly Father. I've also done some plucking of a harmony with my thumb to good effect (I know Ivan Stiles uses two bows sometimes as well).


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 07:32 PM

The Lady of Rochester Castle is a good one too, adds to the spooky atmosphere - as recorded by Tundra about 20 years ago. Fits nicely in with the mediaeval theme of the song too.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 10:32 PM

The first time I picked one up I managed to play "We Three Kings" where it was recognizable (to me at least). I've now owned one for 3 or 4 years and I can still play "We Three Kings". Maybe I should try another song . . .


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 12:37 PM

Hi All,

Thanks for the ideas. I'll keep monitoring for others. I guess I have my work cut out for me.

Liz, thank you for the pun. I love 'em. Do you think a pun challenge thread would be fun, and more importantly, acceptable? We could do a regular feature like the song challenges. Rate them in numbers of groans.

Description of a bowed psaltery (feel free, guys, to correct mistakes) - viewed from the top it looks like a triangle about 18 inches long by five inches at the base. It is strung from the tuning pegs in the base straight up to the pegs that line the sides. Each peg represents an individual note. Naturals run up the right side, sharps and flats run up the left. Mine is a two octave instrument G to G. The bow is about a foot long and runs between each peg to sound a single note. The strings are flat across the instrument so you have to sound the notes one at a time.


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Subject: RE: Songs for Bowed Psaltery?
From: Duane D.
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 12:58 PM

I also play O'Carolan tunes on mine, especially Fanny Poer, Planxty Irwin, Lord Inchiquin, and Sheebeg Sheemore. I also play Ashokan Farewell. That's in the key of D and I start it in the upper octave. My psaltry plays 2 octaves in the key of G. Be creative. Experiment. You are only limited by the range of your instrument, the speed at which you can play, and your imagination. I find airs and waltzes work well for me. As far as the instrument's history, here are some exerpts from the instruction book, which came with my intrument, entitled, "The Bowed Psaltry," by David Kingslake: "The history of the Bowed Psaltry is obscure, but its roots seem to lead back to the middle ages in Europe. (The triangular shape was established by the 12th century, for instance, as noted from figures on a column head, now in a French museum, depicting King David's musicians.)" "Psaltries, both bowed and plucked, are related to zithers, and more generally to harps, hammer dulcimers, and other instruments that have a separate string for each note, as opposed to instruments like violins, lap dulcimers, guitars, etc. that have only a few strings for each note (typically 3 to 6) that the player shortens or "stops" to produce different notes." "Bowed Psaltries require no "fingering" or other left-hand activity (on right-handed instruments) to produce the different notes, as each note has its own private string. The Bowed Psaltry is a single-note or melody instrument. Chording (playing more than one note at a time) is not generally practical, except by using two bows [and a stand]."


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