The other day,  a friend of mine pulled a small instrument out of a bag and asked if I had ever seen one.  This is what he had -

I about fell on the floor, I thought it was the oldest bowed psaltery I had ever seen, the missing link!  No kind of markings, other than the numbers and note names along the edges.  It's really small, about 14 inches long.  It's diatonic, tuned to the key of G.  I could tell this because everywhere there was an F, it was marked F#.  Each successive note is along the other edge. The sound hole label was missing.

If you look closely, you can see that the musical notes are upside down.  That makes it obvious that that you play it with the tuning pins facing away from you, so kind of upside down for how we play the psaltery, even though there are folks that play exactly that way, Paulette Lucas is the first one I saw playing that way years ago.

You can tell in the photograph above that there is something missing on the bottom.  You can see the marks in the finish and also the holes, there are also a few holes on the sides.

Anyway, it was a new one on me.  The markings of the numbers and notes were very similar to what I had seen on a ukelin.  The brand that used the similar markings was made by the Marx company.  A little more searching and I found this - 

It's called a Marxolin.  There's very little information that I could find, but it appears that there are some flexible metal hammers at the bottom.  It looks like they are used to hammer four different strings, or maybe even pairs of strings.  Hard to tell in the picture.

Another Marx instrument is a Marxophone, it uses those same flexible hammers.  Here's a video of a lady playing one -

http://youtu.be/7A9iIQj2mO4

Then I found a picture of a newer version of the Marxolin - 

I also found this link to a picture of a lady playing one like this - http://jpgmag.com/photos/2095167

I wish I could hear it being played, if anyone knows of a video or recording, please let me know.

So, it appears that the one my friend has is missing the hammer mechanism and little wire music holder.

An odd little instrument, to be sure.  But I guess that's the first impression most folks have the bowed psaltery, seeing one for the first time.

Rick

Views: 384

Comment

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

Join Psaltery Strings

Comment by Rick Long on January 30, 2012 at 2:33pm

All I know is, an Antique shop somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley.

Comment by Terry Butler on January 30, 2012 at 1:54pm

Wow - where did your friend find it?  GREAT FIND!  Too bad there's no information to go with this about it's origin.  I'd love to stumble across one of those locally sometime.  :)   

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.

    

Groups

Members who build bowed psalteries for sale

Spring Creek Psalteries - Sharon & Terry Kirby

http://www.springcreekpsalteries.com/

330-323-0618

From the Wood - Wayne Gaydos

765-468-7387

http://fromthewoodsinstruments.com/

to see his work visit

http://shop.indianaartisan.org/collections/musical-instruments

Waynie Psaltery - Wayne Simms

http://www.wayniepsaltery.com/

 

Prairie Psaltery - Richard Celata

http://www.prairiepsaltery.com/

 

Loon Song Psalteries-Charlie Marshall

http://www.loonsongpsalteries.com/

 

New Tradition Dulcimers- Dan Daniels

http://www.newtraditionsdulcimers.com/index.html

 

Psalteries by Dave- Dave Lucas  

http://www.davespsaltery.com/

 

Jon Williams Psalteries
(386) 853-0944

Westman Instruments - Tish & Greg Westman
http://www.westmaninstruments.com

Ringing Strings - Rick Long
http://ringingstrings.com

Michael J King Instrumetns - Diatonic Psalteries
http://www.michaeljking.com/psalterymaking.htm

Inspired Instruments – Carol and Joe Esch
http://www.windridgefarm.us/bowedpsaltery.htm

James Jones Instruments
http://www.jamesjonesinstruments.com/bowedpsaltery/bowedpsaltery.html

Omega Strings – Richard Spencer
http://www.omegastrings.com/

Master Works Bowed Psalteries - Russell Cook
http://masterworksok.com/

Members that teach Bowed Psaltery

Paul G.Sykes - MS  

Located in Hattiesburg
Contact Paul at
 pgsykes1@hotmail.com

or call him at

601-583-4115

 

Gregg Schneeman - California
Contact Gregg here on Psaltery Strings
greggschneeman@psalterystrings.com

 

Peter Tommerup - California
San Francisco Bay Area
Bowed Psaltery and other Instruments
408-867-4324
ptommerup@juno.com

 

Celeste Howard Ray
Bowed Psaltery lessons via Skype
347-796-4484
Skype name celesteray88

 

Maureen Barnes - Illinois
Bowed Psaltery lessons in Bloomington, IL
309-828-7957
dulcimergal98@yahoo.com
http://www.dulcimerdreams.com/

 

Dona Benkert -
Illinois

Lessons at Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL
Phone: 773.728.6000
& Folk-Lore Center, Warrenville, IL
Phone: 630.393.1247
http://www.folk-lorecenter.com/

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.
1-304-575-0998
tishwestman@yahoo.com
www.westmaninstruments.com

Rick Long - Tennessee
Lessons at Rick's home/workshop in Clinton, 30 mins N of Knoxville
(865) 660-4026
http://www.ringingstrings.com/lessons.html

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
karlaarms@upontheharp.com
http://upontheharp.com

Carol Esch - Kentucky
Lessons in Carol's home/workshop south of Lexington.
606-676-0128
esch@qx.net
http://www.windridgefarm.us/bowedpsaltery.htm

Honey Smith Walls - Florida
e-mail Honey for more info honey@offthewalls.us
Melbourne, FL
http://www.offthewalls.us/Psaltery.htm

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.

© 2019   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.
-->