The psaltery (psalterion, saltere, sauterie, Psalterium, Psalter, salterio) is an ancient instrument seen in many forms. Developed in the Middle East, the psaltery is in the family of chordophones. Vibrating strings by running a bow across them makes their sound. The psaltery's strings run the entire length of the instrument and put it in the same classification as the zither.
The Bowed Psaltery is a very beautiful melody instrument and also a very easy instrument to play. The notes on a psaltery are similar to those on a piano. The natural notes, or white keys, are on one side and the sharps and flats, or black keys, are on the other. Each string plays one note. The Right-Handed Psaltery has the natural notes (white keys on the piano) on the right side, and the accidental notes (black keys on the piano) are on the left side. You hold the right-handed Psaltery in the left hand and bow with the dominate right hand.
You can actually play any Psaltery with two bows, one in the left hand and one in the right. Each bow playing one side of the instrument, or leapfrogging up one side of the instrument. If you are talented and have a stand that holds the psaltery for you.
Using the psaltery bow, move across each string to play that particular note. The sound is beautiful, clear, and almost ethereal.
SPECIAL NOTE - No Warranty on Strings: Whether you purchase an instrument on-line or in a neighborhood store, manufacturers recommend that you change the strings on your instrument as soon as you receive it. Your instrument has completed a long journey to your home. During this time the strings WILL oxidize and this may shorten their life expectancy and may reduce their sound quality. On occasion instruments may arrive with a broken string, therefore, it is recommended that you purchase a replacement set of strings and consider changing your strings as soon as it arrives. Learning to change strings should be the first lesson learned when embarking on the journey of playing a new instrument. You can find string on our psaltery accessories page.