ive been away from the site for a few months, but to me there seems to be a change taking place. Looking at the videos etc, there seems to be less normal bowed psalterys, more other members of the family. Also where there are B S being played, it must be double bowed. As some one who plays a standard B S and not up to the high standard most of you are. It makes me feel out of place. When I first started on here there were lots of videos of people just playing for the fun of it. Happy simple times.
Back in the early 1970's I had a little Kelicheck Bowed Psaltery. I could play "Greensleeves", "Ode to Joy","The Ashgrove", etc. When I went out and played in public one of the first questions someone asked me about it was "Can you play it with two bows? Ellen Yeoman of Mixolydian Music,Summerland CA was building what today has become the more standard size BP and was the only other person playing them I knew. So I asked her if she had tried it. She showed me "Chopsticks"! I like to tell folks about her to show I'm not the first to play it that way, just one of the first Bowed Psaltery players to own two bows. The Yetties' Pete Shutler still stands out as a pioneer, his "King of the Fairies" and "Beau Psaltery" and others were played beautifully with only one bow required. I personally play more often with one bow because while I play for people I like to stroll and play. When I play with two bows I used to use a tripod but it bothered me that people thought it had to be played that that way. The double back on my "Dave's" BP works good when I lap it. It has 34 strings with the highest note 2 E's above middle C so not nearly as high scaled as most and down to G below C below middle C so I have more low notes than most and a bigger box but nothing that fancy. In the near future I will be putting up some videos on Psaltery Strings and I'll start with some fun one bow tunes. Our Japanese friends are working with some big psalteries with impressive technique. Betty Fingerring's Violin-Zither might seem strange but is a direct relation to the Bowed Psaltery showing we are a living musical tradition. I hope in the future some Ukelin players will join us as well. But beyond all that we shouldn't lose track that its a fun instrument to play a simple tune in a simple way.
Thanks for the reply. I've followed the yetties for many years and seen them many times live. And it was after seeing them back in the seventies I fell in love with the bs. And bought one shortly after. And love that haunting sound. And pete has always been my idol. I'll stick to one bow.
Hi Bob, I think the majority of folks still single bow and just for fun. Sometimes folks like to progress or change up so that's when you're going to start seeing the fancier playing and innovation to the instrument itself.
Change can be a little unsettling at times but it is inevitable, however, I don't think you need feel out of place, the single bowed, simple music is here to stay and the "fun" of playing is what it's all about. The bowed psaltery is an instrument for everyone to enjoy!