The Bowed Psaltery is related to the ancient bowed harp, which was the earliest stringed instrument known to use a bow for vibrating the strings. The name "psaltery" is from the root word "psalm", meaning "song". This instrument should not be confused with the Biblical "psaltery", which is a plucked instrument resembling the hammered dulcimer.
The bowed psaltery pictured here was designed in Europe in the 19th century as an aid for teaching children simple music theory. It is set up like a piano keyboard in that the white keys are "bowed" on the right and the black keys on the left. Strings are bowed individually between the steel posts to produce single note melodies. The sound of the psaltery is very sweet and ethereal. It is one of the simplest musical instruments to learn how to play. With a little experimenting, anyone can find a simple tune on this intruiging and delightful stringed instrument.
Timmy's bowed psaltery was made by friend Tom Fellenbaum. You can find psalteries at the Song of the Wood in Black Mountain, NC. Visit their website at www.songofthewood.com.