Donna Malus's Blog (9)

A Rose by any other name.....

Up until now, if I was asked what my all-time favorite song was I would have said “Ode to Joy”.  Now I’m not sure that’s the right answer!

This past weekend at the East TN BP Gathering the comment was made that a piece of sheet music titled “Ode to Joy” was really called "Joyful, Joyful".  This raised my curiosity and I did a little research.  

Beethoven wrote his 9th and final complete symphony over a 7 year period, 1818-1824. By that time he was considered totally deaf (some…


Added by Donna Malus on November 7, 2013 at 5:32pm — 2 Comments

A Fun Summer Project

If I was still in school and the teacher asked me what I did on my summer vacation, I'd have to tell her about Violet.

Violet is a doll I made. She is all crochet and has her own bowed psaltery. As time allows I'm planning on making her some friends. Some of her friends will play bowed psaltery and some will play other folk instruments.

I hope you like her. She was very fun to create.…


Added by Donna Malus on October 6, 2013 at 3:53pm — 9 Comments

A Journey of a Thousand (maybe a million) Steps

A friend of mine loves to tease and poke fun at the bowed psaltery and my playing (maybe it's more about my skills then anything else ). It's not his type of music so I get it and ultimately he is supportive of my musical endeavors.


Recently he was at the airport and heard a familiar sound wafting through the air in an underground tunnel. He looked around and saw a woman playing a bowed psaltery with a jar out for donations. He approached her and asked if her…


Added by Donna Malus on May 21, 2011 at 9:48am — 5 Comments

A thought that most of us share..

Our member, Jon Williams, made this comment and I think most, if not all, of us here feel this way. Jon, I hope you don't mind my quoting you.

" I am focusing on Bowed Psaltries because I can play them better, love the sound, the looks, the way it sounds like a violin in a cathedral. I have seen people shed a tear after playing Amazing Grace for the first time. I still love a well played mountain dulcimer but the bowed psaltry touches my heart. Also I can teach anyone able to breathe…


Added by Donna Malus on March 26, 2011 at 9:11am — No Comments

Musical Friends

Having friends to play music with is a gift.

Some of us are lucky enough to live in an area rich with music, some of us may be in such an area and not know it and of course some of us might just be out of…


Added by Donna Malus on October 26, 2010 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Live from the First Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony

I'm here in beautiful West VIriginia at Tamarack. The practice began this morning and we've taken a break for lunch. What a fun morning trying on a few of the songs we're scheduled to perform on Sunday. It's wonderful to be surrounded by people who love music and the bowed psaltery, very good energy in the group!

We have beginners to advanced players and we're working well together, it's comfortable and there are lots and lots of smiling faces.

Tamarack itself is a beautiful…


Added by Donna Malus on April 16, 2010 at 12:03pm — 4 Comments

Dona Benkert, my music teacher! (with the guitar)

Here is a link to a video of my music teacher and Psaltery Strings member, Dona Benkert, at the Folk-Lore Center run by Dona and her husband Dan.

Please take note of the adorable American Eskimo, Biscuit the Wonder Dog! She is a music critic for sure!

Thanks for all your patience and laughter during lessons Dona !!!…


Added by Donna Malus on March 9, 2010 at 7:30pm — 1 Comment

The 1st Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony

There are a lot of wonderful festivals and folk music events in this country (except where I live) but from my perspective, never enough and there will probably never be too many. Tish and Greg Westman are adding another one this year and hoping to make it an annual event.

The 1st Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony will take place at Tamarack in Beckley, West Va. on April 16,17 and 18. If you're not familiar with Tamarack, here's a blurb from their web site and a link for more info:…


Added by Donna Malus on February 21, 2010 at 7:22pm — 4 Comments

Are we psaltrists, psalterists or psalterers or what????

I was sending Richard a message today and I used the term psaltrist. At that point it dawned on me that I had no idea how a psaltery player would be referred to other than as a "psaltery player". and other searches found nothing for psaltrist, psalterist, psalterer or psaltress. There were a couple casual references using psaltrist and psalterer, but nothing that leads me to believe there is a specific suffix used for…


Added by Donna Malus on February 8, 2010 at 6:28pm — 9 Comments

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
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.

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.

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