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Psaltery (bowed and plucked)

Windsinger 06 Mar 06 - 04:40 PM
Bat Goddess 06 Mar 06 - 04:44 PM
katlaughing 06 Mar 06 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 06 Mar 06 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 06 Mar 06 - 05:27 PM
jimmyt 06 Mar 06 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Jim 06 Mar 06 - 06:15 PM
Gurney 06 Mar 06 - 11:05 PM
Phil Cooper 06 Mar 06 - 11:31 PM
Pauline L 06 Mar 06 - 11:53 PM
Geoff the Duck 07 Mar 06 - 04:37 AM
katlaughing 07 Mar 06 - 06:31 AM
Bat Goddess 07 Mar 06 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 07 Mar 06 - 09:00 AM
katlaughing 07 Mar 06 - 09:54 AM
dulcimer42 07 Mar 06 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Jim 07 Mar 06 - 01:14 PM
katlaughing 07 Mar 06 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Mar 06 - 01:55 PM
Gurney 07 Mar 06 - 02:20 PM
Bat Goddess 07 Mar 06 - 06:51 PM
Gurney 07 Mar 06 - 07:32 PM
Troll 07 Mar 06 - 08:29 PM
Jack Campin 17 Jan 14 - 02:20 PM
GUEST 17 Jan 14 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Jan 14 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 18 Jan 14 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Jan 14 - 09:21 PM
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Subject: Psaltery (bowed & plucked)
From: Windsinger
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 04:40 PM

Any 'catters play either variety of this instrument? Thinking of indulging my instument-addition again...

(Boy, it's a good thing I'm into collecting instruments not cats. :P )


Slán,

~Fionn

www.geocities.com/children_of_lir


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 04:44 PM

I own one -- can't say that I actually PLAY it. I love it but it's too ethereal sounding not only for most of what I sing, but for the pub venue I usually sing IN.

Although the first time I ran into one, it was being played by a woman in Trapezoid who was performing at the pub I usually sing in. But she was on stage and miked and I usually am not.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 04:49 PM

I love my psaltery, but don't play it often enough. Some of the lower notes have a bell-like quality which is just beautiful. Someday, I would love to have a bowed one; I LOVE that ethereal sound!


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 05:11 PM

i want a tenor psaltery
but overindulgence in guitar collecting
means i still cant justify buying one for probably some time..


i went to a Yetties gig out of curiosity last year,
and one of them played a solo tune on psaltery
which was the best
[and least screechingly painfull]
I've heard since going to early music instrument workshops in the Bradford area
nearly 30 years ago..


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 05:27 PM

errr.. meant to write Baritone psaltery..


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: jimmyt
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 05:43 PM

I have one I traded for a tenor banjo and it is a delightful and easy-to-play instrument. I love it. It is Bowed. I have not played it in a gig yet though I may soon


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 06:15 PM

My wife and sister-in-law both play bowed psaltry. They arew not good pub instruments, but they can be very effective in concert settings. If you know anyone else who plays one, they are great duet instruments.
Maggie played hers once at the "Unusual Musical Instruments" workshop at the Mariposa Folk Festival and a fellow performer named John Hart also had one. That was her first psaltry duet.
   

Lorraine Doucet was the Trapazoid psaltry player. She's also a monster mandolin player and a beautiful singer.


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Gurney
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 11:05 PM

I built 6 bowed psalteries, 35 years ago. My wife still has one of them, but never played it. The strings are mostly rusted off it now.

After building them, I discovered that the standard triangular shape may not be the best. The short(high) strings go out of tune faster, and it is tedious to retune.
At one stage I intended to make a fibreglass one in the style of Ovation guitars, and did some experimentation on string length and their persistence in-tune, but I lost interest, and I've lost the graph, now. Looking at the male mould that I carved, 60mm longer than usual is about right.   Chris.


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 11:31 PM

I play a bowed psaltery. We usually use it once per set. I sometimes bow the melody and pluck a harmony note with my thumb. We don't use it much on recordings (I have added a psaltery part on a couple of my project, but way in the background). I find it's good for a few stand out things, and otherwise best kept in the background. A woman I know from Mountain View,Arkansas, thought she would put out a whole recording of bowed psaltery music, and discoverd halfway through, that it hurt her ears. On recordings, I think it's best with some lower register instruments. We do have some good jokes we use when explaining the bowed psaltery at concerts.


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Pauline L
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 11:53 PM

I wasn't aware that the psaltery can be plucked instead of bowed. Can someone tell me about it? Is the instrument made the same way for the two different kinds of playing?


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 04:37 AM

Same name - different type of instrument. Both based on forms of instrument that have been about for centuries.
Quack!
GtD


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:31 AM

There's a good picture of a pig snout plucked psaltery on this page. If you put "psaltery photo" in google search, there is a British Museum (? can't remember for sure)link which comes up for prints of old paintings which show this kind of psaltery being played.

Mine is shaped more like an autoharp, though with sharp edges. I also had a small one which a grandpa made as a hobby and started selling them on ebay, along with msuic sheets which fit under the strings so that even a child could learn to pluck a familiar melody. I gave it to a friend back East who works a lot with kids.


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:53 AM

My BOWED psaltery is about a 15 inch triangle, bowed between the tuning pegs. I think it was made by someone up in Maine. The sound hole has, I think, a tree carving.

It's a lovely instrument and I bought it quite reasonably (with a case)in an "old/used stuff" shop that had just gotten it in and hadn't a clue as to what it was. I was tickled to find it and snapped it right up. The "bow" that came with it was pathetic, though -- a small dowel strund with a piece of fish line. I acquired a small Suzuki bow, but that was actually much too large. It was only a Christmas ago that I got a proper bow for it -- so maybe I'll get it out and learn how to play it and develop a repertoire that can use its accompaniment.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 09:00 AM

i could never justify the price..
but this is the one i'd aspire to owning....

http://www.ringingstrings.com/Baritone.html


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 09:54 AM

oh, gawd, pfr, now you've done it! I couldn't justify nor afford the price of that one, but now i have seen how to actually bow one, I want one!

Do folks use two bows, as in the video, only with a baritone, or with any bowed psaltery?

kat


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: dulcimer42
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:49 AM

MOst people use one bow, however I have attended a workshop on using 2 bows. The harmony is nice. I'd love to see/hear a baritone psaltery. Mine is definitely soprano and I can relate the "hurt her ears" post.


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 01:14 PM

When we were selling my Grandmother's house, my father told me that he had traded a baseball glove for a mandolin , but had never been able to get it in tune. He said it was in the basement somewhere. I searched the basement, but all I found was a weird looking instrument with a bunch of strings heading in different directions and overlappin each other. I showed it to my dad and he said,"Yeah, that's it." I had no idea what it was, but it said Hawaiian Arts Violoin Co. inside the sound hole. I wrote away to the address and their reply told me that I had found a Ukelin. This is a bowed psaltry with four chords that can be strummed, to accompany the bowed melody, with the hand that doesn't hold the bow. It's one of those instruments, like guitar zithers and tremoloas, that were invented and produced, but never really caught on. I've heard one played once on A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, but have never seen one played. Check out www.fretless zithers.com


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 01:24 PM

Very kewl site, Jim, thanks!


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 01:55 PM

I am blessed/cursed with sensitive hearing. I find the psaltery absolutely painful to listen to.

Please note the post above which says the best that person heard was "and least screechingly painfull"

Proceed with caution.


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Gurney
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 02:20 PM

I'd describe the sound as eerie and ethereal, myself.
I had sensitive hearing, or rather, high-pitched hearing, when I was younger.
Leenia, can you hear the high-pitched hum that TVs make?
Different rosins on the bow change the tone slightly, but violin rosin seemed to me to be best.
Bat Goddess, is your bow the traditional type (looks like an overtightened long-bow) or the violin type?


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:51 PM

My new bow is very similar to that pictured at RingingStrings above. The Suzuki bow, of course, was a small sized fiddle bow -- but too large for the small bowed psaltery I own.

I've got a book, I've got a psaltery and I've got a bow. Now all I need is some time. Sigh.

I also need to clean and restring an antique Celestaphone (like a Marxophone, but a different company).

Linn


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Gurney
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 07:32 PM

The bows that I made were that type, but much simpler, just a heat-bent piece of outer bamboo. Very lightweight.


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Troll
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:29 PM

google Unicorn Strings for bowed psalterys.

troll


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 02:20 PM

An interesting way to play it:

Quadro Nuevo


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 06:02 PM

The main BP support group is psalterystrings.ning.com

We know how to fix the screech!


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 11:15 AM

guest, your link doesn't work. And that's too bad, because I would like to hear how a psaltery sounds without the screech.

(There isn't any 'psalterystrings.com' either.)


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 11:39 AM

They mean

http://psalterystrings.ning.com/

ning.com is a rather clunky forum site. I occasionally use their recorder forum.


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Subject: RE: Psaltery (bowed and plucked)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 09:21 PM

Thanks, Jack. I found the site and listened to 'Southwind.' I don't believe I am a devotee yet.


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