Has anyone been experimenting with this? 

I have de-tuned one of my psalteries to as near to 432 Hz as I can get (my digital tuner only goes down to 433). 

432 Hz has been written about in several different sources as being the frequency more akin to the natural vibration of the earth and nature itself. 

I've been thinking about playing in a non 440 Hz for some time, as I want to experiment with the supposed differences between the modern pitch and this regarded as being more healing frequencies.

Has anyone done the same or experimented, and if so, what did you find?


Views: 253

Replies to This Discussion


I have experimented a little with different frequencies.  Tanezaki-san (who plays in many of Makoto Kato-sans' videos) asked me about playing in C = 528 Hz (A = 444Hz).  528Hz is one of the Solfeggio frequencies, which are claimed to have some special capabilities also.  Retuning a psaltery was too much of an endeavor at the time but I did retune my mountain dulcimer to some different frequencies and attached are some mp3 files.  I tried to play one verse of the same song in exactly the same way so that the frequency would be the only difference.  One version is tuned to A=444Hz (C=528), A = 440Hz, and A = 417Hz (another Solfeggio frequency). 


From this exercise I decided that changing frequency for a single instrument might be more akin to playing a little flat or a little sharp, especially with a recognizable melody.  There may be some advantages to some of these tunings for compositions played by an orchestra with many instruments, but I didn't detect anything special for just one instrument with a recognizable melody.

I think there might be a possibility of some extra effect in a non A=440 tuning where maybe four to six notes are played in a repeating pattern.  It might seem monotonous with so few notes, but the difference in the tuning frequency might make a difference in the perception of the listener.  I think we have become too complicated with all of our known melodies.  Some of the melodies of old may have been more random and/or the melodies were not repeated.  I think known melodies with a different tuning frequency will just sound a little sharp or a little flat.  I think an unknown melody or a sequence of notes (maybe 4 - 6 notes) that repeats itself might present a different impression depending on the tuning.

So, I think I'm looking for the sound and the affect it has on me and the listener.  I have all of the familiar sounds of my past up to my present, and some have a bigger impact than others depending on many factors (time of day, my state of mind, etc.).  That is what I have decided will be important to me based on everything I have read about special frequencies and/or tunings having special capabilities.

Along this line of thought, I'm wondering about the Tao harp.  It is tuned to 4 notes, D, E, A, and B.  One of its uses is for healing.  There is no melody, just the sound of all four notes being strummed.  The url below displays the tao harp and a healing session with various instruments.  I wonder if the miscellaneous sounds would have an effect on me for healing.  I suspect the Tao harp on my chest would be an experience, healing or not. 


Maybe we can find something similar in the bowed psaltery?






Hi Dave,

Thanks for your input. The Tao harp was interesting to see / hear. 

I think it's the long resonance of the bowed psaltery that is where the effect of these different tunings can be observed / felt. It's been suggested that I experiment with two psalteries - in different tunings, and observe the results - possibly in a live set up or even through video/audio.

Food for thought!

Thanks for sharing



Featured Video

Amplified Psaltery with Cello Strings built by Rick Long

This video is a personal favorite because it shows a unique type of bowed psaltery with a gorgeous sound. When I heard it I broke out in goose bumps!

Featured Song

Click on the title for the current
featured sheet music!

Clergy's Lamentation




What is Psaltery Strings worth to you?
A dollar a month?
Your help to offset the cost of keeping our Community alive is appreciated.

Thank you.



Members who build bowed psalteries for sale

Spring Creek Psalteries - Sharon & Terry Kirby



From the Wood - Wayne Gaydos



to see his work visit


Waynie Psaltery - Wayne Simms



Prairie Psaltery - Richard Celata



Loon Song Psalteries-Charlie Marshall



New Tradition Dulcimers- Dan Daniels



Psalteries by Dave- Dave Lucas  



Jon Williams Psalteries
(386) 853-0944

Westman Instruments - Tish & Greg Westman

Ringing Strings - Rick Long

Michael J King Instrumetns - Diatonic Psalteries

Inspired Instruments – Carol and Joe Esch

James Jones Instruments

Omega Strings – Richard Spencer

Master Works Bowed Psalteries - Russell Cook

Members that teach Bowed Psaltery

Paul G.Sykes - MS  

Located in Hattiesburg
Contact Paul at

or call him at



Gregg Schneeman - California
Contact Gregg here on Psaltery Strings


Peter Tommerup - California
San Francisco Bay Area
Bowed Psaltery and other Instruments


Celeste Howard Ray
Bowed Psaltery lessons via Skype
Skype name celesteray88


Maureen Barnes - Illinois
Bowed Psaltery lessons in Bloomington, IL


Dona Benkert -

Lessons at Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL
Phone: 773.728.6000
& Folk-Lore Center, Warrenville, IL
Phone: 630.393.1247

Tish Westman - West Virginia
Lessons at Tamarack, Beckley, WV. Wednesday workshops also available for individual classes and to teach at festivals.
Sunday "Jam" 3:30 to 6:00. All instruments welcome, play mostly Old Time, Celtic & Gospel Music, not opposed to trying any tune called, once did a rap on Bowed Psalteries.

Rick Long - Tennessee
Lessons at Rick's home/workshop in Clinton, 30 mins N of Knoxville
(865) 660-4026

Karla Armstrong - Pennsylvania
Karla plays a variety of instruments and does workshops as well. Please visit her web site for additional information or contact her via the web site or the information below.
(717) 632-8099

Carol Esch - Kentucky
Lessons in Carol's home/workshop south of Lexington.

Honey Smith Walls - Florida
e-mail Honey for more info honey@offthewalls.us
Melbourne, FL

Visit Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer

Please sign up on the bowed psaltery players list

Tish's list is a valuable resource when searching for other players. http://www.westmaninstruments.com/Bowed_Psaltery_List.html

If you are already on Tish's list, why don't you stop in and update your info? While your there take a look to see if there are new players in your area. Who knows, you might get together and make a recording.

© 2018   Created by Donna Malus.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

To add a scrolling message to your NingBar, change this text, and add the code to your Custom Code Box. If you want, you can add simple links like this: Visit JenSocial This is a great way to make announcements to your site visitors.