I just finished hammering out the details of a 'new' design for the psaltery with Rick Long of Ringing Strings. It's a small soprano instrument that has a couple of neat features.
Based on Rick's popular chromatic and diatonic instruments that he designed to play easily with mountain dulcimers, this new model features 17 strings all along one side only that are tuned in a modified diatonic scale:
B C C# D E F# G a b c c# d e f# g a' b'
Note the C natural hidden in the middle of the scale. The instrument is tuned in fundamental D major with three additional notes below the tonic D and extends a further octave and a half to high b'. The C natural "odd ball' string allows the instrument to play the same scales as the Irish tin whistles or Irish flutes that play in D. It can play in D major, G major, E minor and a modal scale of A. It is also similar to the 'half frets' of the mountain dulcimer so that it can play along with dulcimers without having to reach over to the other side. This arrangement of strings should allow for a very fast psaltery that is ideal for the Irish repertoire.
For anyone unfamiliar with Rick and Ringing Strings, know that he is a very innovative thinker who really understands the psaltery. And he's a great guy to work with to boot!
That looks familiar!
Familiar? How so??