I live in the UK and I would like a baritone psaltery but can't find any here - I would like to try one to see if it's what I hope for.  Also if I buy one, do they have wound strings or would I have to replace strings? I would be really grateful if anybody knows the best way to find one - if I can't get to try one then is there a site I could buy from and would send one.  ? Thanks for any help = Anne

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What do you mean by a Japanese one?  I have seen Roosebeck advetised but I couldn't find out about the strings.  I also see Hora and Thomann but again I don't know what they're like.  I couldn't use a stand (because I play with a West Gallery Quire and we get pushed for space).  Any advice gratefully received = Anne

As far as I can tell, you will probably have to order a baritone from the States.  Rick Long is often recommended on this group. 


As for the Japanese one, I don't know.  It's difficult to buy things in Japan.  Japanese sites are usually only in Japanese and they only accept credit cards with a Japanese address.  Plus, it would be even more expensive to get one of the huge bass ones, if, of course, you could find someone who would sell it to you.  Maybe some makers sell outside Japan, I wouldn't know.

Thanks Celine - have you ever tried a baritone?  I love the sound and I would like to get a deeper  sto fit in with other instruments - my psaltery can get lost !!! = Anne 

No, I haven't tried to get a baritone.  I'm rather content with our tenor, to be honest.  It's a good range for the music we like. 


Out of curiosity, with which other instruments are you playing your psaltery?

I play with a West Gallery Quire - so there is quite a lot of sound there!!! The other instruments are two oboes, a curtel )if that's how its spelt, a cello and a recorder.  I would really like to get a deeper sound as the cellist isn't always there and curtels take a lot of puff !!! Also the psaltery is overtaken by the sopranos.

I am also involved in a folk playing group (for listening) where I play a whistle but again would like the sound of a deeper psaltery.  I do use my tenor there sometimes.

Probably I an't get a baritone but I just have the urge to try = Anne

Thanks for explaining West Gallery - I don't play a soprano psaltery - I have a tenor.  I use the lower range where possible and that's alright if I have sight of the music first - I can't quickly adapt the tune to play only above G.  I play the tenor part normally - this means that the notes tend to be in the lower register.  

Sorry, but who is Rich?  Do you know anybody who has a baritone? 

Thanks - Anne

Thanks Jeremy - but I can't find a Gewa bow anywhere - any ideas? = Anne

The 'curtel'... would that be one of these?  http://www.music.iastate.edu/antiqua/kortholt.htm

The main problem for you with a baritone psaltery is that it would take up more space - the deeper pitch necessitates a longer instrument, and structural considerations often mean they are wider as well (allowing more strings).  The baritone is also unlikely to be easy to play in a hand-held mode, so a stand of some sort (we use a photographic tripod with a home-made cradle on top for our tenor) is most likely to be necessary.

Where did you get your current psaltery(ies)?

It's possible to get a fairly big sound out of a psaltery, certainly enough to keep up with a soprano ocarina.  (I'm not talking about the English-style 4- or 6-hole pendant ocarinas, rather the larger ten-hole types.  They are difficult to play quietly as they go rapidly out of tune as you blow harder or softer, and the higher you go either up the instrument's scale or from instrument to instrument, the louder they get.  The tenor is loud, and the soprano is louder still, but our Thomann-sourced tenor psaltery (the "D1006" model) can hold its own.)

The other thing that will help the psaltery stand out is its distinctive sound texture.  This comes partly from the "ringing strings" effect, but also from the particular texture of the sound, with that continuous metallic edge to it that we are all familiar with.  I know of nothing else that sounds quite like it.

(Note to all and sundry: one day I'll post a picture of my psaltery cradle on its tripod, really, I promise!  One day...)

Thanks Steve - I am thinking I may just stay with my tenor psaltery - I got it from the Early Music Shop.  I really play with the Quire because I love to play the psaltery - and we get so many questions about it from the audience/congregation.  One day I will post a photo of the Quire - we are in costume and one man wears  a smock which was used by coffin-bearers at his Church in the 1800's.  We are playing and singing for a History Weekend tomorrow - a varied programme but mostly Sussex based.

Thanks to all who have taken the trouble to discuss my question = Anne

Hi - Not sure if I replied but can't see it.  The curtal is like a shawm and the predecessor of the oboe (so the computer tells me!!) 

I think I shall continue with the tenor psaltery but try to use the lower register more.  I can;t hold the tenor on an outstretched arm like a soprano so I have rest it on my knee - that way I can reach both sides.

I MIGHT buy the Roosebeck baritone just for me but anything longer than  my tenor would be very limiting.

Thanks anyway - I am playing this evening and the psaltery promotes a great deal of interest = Anne

I've been thinking about this some more, and I have a question.  Is the psaltery getting lost as *you*hear it, or as *the*audience* hears it?  I ask this because you said you get questions about the psaltery, and while some will ask about the odd-looking triangular thing, mostly people will ask about it because of unusual sound that it makes, so maybe it's not getting lost at all, except to your hearing because the other instruments are all around you. 

To tell which it is, ask a friend in the audience to tell you how easy it is to pick out the psaltery when the group is playing.

Thanks Steve - The problem is that it isn't only the instruments - the quire make a big sound on their own!!!  I am going to try to get somebody to listen when we have a symphony for musicians only (usually a few lines at the beginning of a psalm) and see if I can be heard then.  The difficulty is that I get nervous and find playing with just a recorder and oboe is a bit threatening.  I can't have it all ways I know and maybe I just need to concentrate on the enjoyment I get from playing with the Quire. If you look for Sussex Harmony on the computer you can see what we do = Anne


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