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 place, gorgeous hand crafted products. People here smile and laugh so easily.

More to come!

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Comment by Donna Malus on November 13, 2010 at 8:18am
Hi Diane, we didn't get any substantial video, just a few moments between practice sessions. It was a wonderful time. The first song we all played in practice (proabably were 15 of us) sent goose bumps down my arms. The sound was ethereal, just beautiful, and you could feel the music vibrating in the air. The sound carried out of our practice studio into the Tamarack public area and from what we were told it was hauntingly beautiful.
There will be another event early next year. It was originaly going to be the weekend of April 8, 9 and 10, but that has to change now. As soon as I get the new date I will be posting the event here! It is truly something that EVERY lever of player can participate in, even a brand new beginner.
Comment by Donna Malus on April 21, 2010 at 10:21pm
After months of anticipation, the First Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony is over. It was everything I hoped it would be, educational, a bonding experience, satisfiying and FUN, FUN, FUN. The only problem is that now it's over and I feel all alone again, musically speaking.
My original plan had been to post here several times during the event, but we had pretty full (near 12 hour) days and when returning to my room, or during a break, I was too tired or too wired to write anything.
I believe the final count for attendees was 21, but I'll have to double check that number when I get a chance. Most of the psaltrists have been playing around 12 months and most had never played with a group before and I really doubt many had ever worked with a conductor prior to this event. We did well playing together and when you consider the limited experience of most of the musicians we did a fantastic job. Greg Westman recorded the event and is going to senda copy of it to the participants. I can't wait to hear it.
Nerves, wow, they can be paralyzing. I can't speak for everyone, but while playing on stage I think I only took about a third of my normal breaths and I couldn't count the total number of wrong notes...I'm thankful for the drone parts I played.....those went fairly well (G-2-3-4, G-2-3-4, get the picture : )
Those of you who have attended musical festivals, jams etc. may think "so what's new" when I tell you how warm and friendly everyone was, how wonderful the experience of sharing music is and how strangers feel like family after a few days, in hours even. Different types of people from many different places who may or may not have much in common have a predefined relationship, an immediate understanding. It's a wonderful thing and I miss it already.
Comment by John Henry Charles Crocker on April 17, 2010 at 2:24pm
I'm jealous!!! I have only ever seen TWO bowed psaltries together ever, outside of festivals in France!!
Comment by Donna Malus on April 16, 2010 at 7:59pm
The first day of the weekend event is over. It was great and I think we sounded great. Tish was also very pleased with how well we played together. We had at least 15 psalteries playing at any time. Sheet music with melodies, harmonies and drones for each piece had been provided by Tish and the adventurous among us improvised.
After dinner we had a jam session. I've never been to one and didn't contribute really, but I'll learn. I particularly liked the tunes Ashokan Farewell and Angelina Baker, I can't wait to learn those. I've realized that I have to accumulate more sheet music and get comfortable with chords.
Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

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

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featured sheet music!

Clergy's Lamentation




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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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