Our neighboring village recently concluded an "art/music" event in which local artists displayed their works and musicians conducted street performances throughout the downtown area. Every third Thursday from June through September, I had the opportunity to help educate the visiting public on the topic of Psaltery building and playing.
In order to increase local interest in forming a core of psaltery players I decided to give away a tenor psaltery that I constructed during the event. I conducted a free raffle to select the winner and to my pleasure, it was won by a lady from the local area.
The real story is that this woman's neighbor was a young lady who was an accomplished violinist that suffered a serious disability that prevented her from persuing her career in music. She lost the ability to use her left hand to hold and finger the strings of the violin. After 15 years of playing she had to give up playing stringed instruments, that was until she met the bowed psaltery!
Within minutes of our meeting, she found that her skill in bowing the violin worked just fine and that although she still had some lingering affects from her left hand challenges, she could play music again. Ten minutes into a practice session with me and she was already playing songs which took me a day or two to learn.
I'm sure there are many violin players out there who can no longer comfortably play due to physical conditions. I'm confident that they would appreciate the simplicity of the bowed psaltery.
Some day, I may have to give up playing my fretted instruments but I'm sure my psalteries will still be there for me.
I LOVE THIS STORY!!!! Please keep us posted on her progess if possible. Maybe you could get in touch with her and point her towards this web site!
Just because an instrument is simple doesn't mean it isn't a wonderful tool for musical expression. I was just discussing with some friends how angry I get when people hint (and sometimes come right out and state) that the psaltery isn't a "real" instrument.
I did provide the web site address for "psalterystrings" in hopes that she would join as a member. I explained that your site has the most comprehensive collection of psaltery information on the Web.
It's only been a week since we met so I'll wait a little while longer to contact her to see how she's doing.
In the mean time, I'm busy building three more psalteries which I plan on sending to a small public school in Alaska. My grandchildren will be attending the school (Tenakee Springs) in next few years and I thought the local community could benefit from some additional musical resources. I understand, from my daughter, that some of the children have been exposed to violin training so a psaltery should be a good addition to their program. Apparently the teacher actually has a psaltery or is at least familiar with them. I gave one to my daughter last year but with two toddlers running around and a husband that is a commercial fisherman, she hasn't had much time to play.
I hope to sell one of my existing instruments to help pay for the materials used to build the three ones going to Alaska. Perhaps I'll list it on eBay in a week or so.
Thanks Charlie! Good luck with the sale, the kids in Alaska will be pleased to get some psalteries!