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 instrument was a bowed psaltery, she acknowledged, in surprise, that it was and returned to playing. I think he was a little proud of himself for being one of the few people who actually knew what the instrument was.


So my point is?  I'm not exactly sure myself. I was really happy to hear this little story, more excited than seems warranted.


I think my excitement was because this was a success story for Psaltery Strings and for all of us who are striving to get the bowed psaltery "out there" in the mainstream.  The  Bowed Psaltery Symphony was a big success, but these little ones, almost imperceptible ones, are successes as well and important in their own way. This was a baby step on the road to popularity, but a step never the less.

Views: 127


You need to be a member of Psaltery Strings to add comments!

Join Psaltery Strings

Comment by Donna Malus on October 24, 2012 at 9:34pm

We've had discussions on what we should be called and some ideas were pretty funny!

So, you were spying on me from the Google Spy in the Sky!!!   Did you see the golf course?  I can watch the golfers tee at the 6th hole. Not that I golf or know anything much about it. I have learned when someone yells "four" it's best to duck and when someone throws their golf club they probably didn't make a good shot 

Comment by Donna Malus on October 18, 2012 at 8:08pm

Oh, DOH, Guildford would be IN Surrey wouldn't it? Don't be shy to contact Philippa or any other members who might be near you. I can vouch for your character...well, at least I can say your not dangerous

Comment by Donna Malus on October 18, 2012 at 8:04pm

Jacquie, my favorite English Tart     I hope you are doing wonderfully!

The bowed psaltery is very easy to learn. Some of what makes it so special is that it can allow music into the lives of people who have never been able to learn an instrument before. I was most familiar with piano and I think that made the psaltery even easier to learn.

We have several members in the UK. Do you live anywhere near Surrey?  Philippa is a wonderful player and it would be great if you attend one of her performances. There are other members as well, if you browse through the member section you will find them. I'll have to take a look at where Guildford is on the map!

Comment by Lynne Fearman(LynneFearman.com) on May 23, 2012 at 9:32pm

My brother was the pied~piper of psaltries out here on the west coast. He sold more psaltries than anyone. His method to get this instrument into people's hands and get them interested was to hand his psaltry to a child with an adult. He would teach the child to play "twinkle twinkle little star", in 5 minutes. The parents would light up! They would buy one for their aspiring musician, and then get hooked on it themselves. 

 He got me interested by telling me it was a portable piano that I could take to the park. When my friends saw how easy it was to play, we all thought its would sound better if we played 4 part harmonies, and rounds. We ended up doing very well at music festivals. A lone psaltry is one thing, but a group of psaltries is amazing!

Comment by Rick Long on May 23, 2011 at 8:49am
I can relate to the moment of surprise, when playing the psaltery in public.  Of the folks that visit my table when doing a craft demonstration, the ones that actually know about the bowed psaltery are definitely in the minority.  It's a good feeling to share the psaltery with someone, for the first time, and you can see some of that same excitement you had when you found out about it.

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.

© 2022   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.