How does the bowed psaltery fit into the broader musical landscape? We know it does well with hymms and traditional music, American and Celtic. What about pop, rock, jazz, blues, classical, new age, world?

If you have some thoughts about bowed psaltery and how it can work with genres outside of the traditional, please post about it!  Any examples to share? 

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The recent discussion about psaltery jams touched on the bowed psaltery and new age/world music. Dari Lewis and David Michael have put together some music that showcases bowed psaltery, harp and hammer dulcimer in what I would define as "new age" with some definate world influence and yes, a touch of the trad here and there as well. Of course, that's my opinion others might classify it differently.
I have gifted their CDs and listen to them often. You can sample the music on CDbaby. Take a listen and let us know what you think about the BP in this musical setting.
Here's a recent review written about their CD Castles and Cobblestones.

Celtic/Instrumental/LocalDari and David Michael: Castles and Cobblestones

If a harp, a bowed psaltery a hammered dulcimer make you smile, then you will appreciate that Dari and David Michael have made this excellent album of skillful, intriguing, entrancing music. All twelve tracks are original and purely instrumental, and each perfectly captures the qualities that I love within this genre. If this is your kind of music, this will be a favorite
CD of yours. I’m aware that such a CD as this won’t resonate with everyone, but most people can tell quickly whether this is their “kind of thing” or not. One difficulty is that the genre itself is hard to describe. A music store might file this under “New Age”, “Easy Listening”, “World Music” or “Classical”, yet none of these are perfectly accurate. Unlike much “New Age” music, Castles and Cobblestones doesn’t use synthesizers or sound effects; unlike “Easy Listening”, it is far more than bland, slow chords designed to induce sleep. The melodies are interesting and complex, intricate and engaging. They capture, with excellent musicianship, echoes of the Renaissance, the Baroque, and of Celtic harpestry. Think Turlough O'Carolan meets Ludovico Einaudi. Perfect for any time you wish to relax and immerse yourself in twelve rich and elegant original compositions. [Zach Hudson]
I feel like the the bowed psaltery, with it's unmatched sound, is just beginning to be noticed for having a potential to fit in with most any music. In the right hands they can be used to sound out melodies, counter-melodies, harmonies, drones, and even more techniques that we are yet to hear. Then to also think that this instrument is also very simple and most anyone can sound out a simple melody with just a few minutes of instruction. I love the challenge when someone approaches me at a craft demo and says one of two statements "I couldn't do that, I'm not musical." or "I can't even play the radio". I always ask if they ever sing, whistle, or hum. If the answer is positive I lead them into bowing a few notes and then have them play an octave of "C" going down the scale. If they are successful, I ask them to do it again, but think the first line of "Joy to the World" and sound that out using the bow. Most can do it.

That's the great thing about the bowed psaltery. It can be a very simple instrument or it can be used as a tool for someone like Dari or Grego to take it to another level. I like to think there aren't any limits to that level, whatever the type of music or style.
In my spare time I write and record my own music, which ranges from conventional rock/pop to instrumentals in a variety of styles. I've been putting a lot of thought into how I can fit the psaltery into my music. I have already experimented with putting it through some guitar effects and of course though its clear tone makes it the ideal lead melody instrument I plan to create layers to create chords in the music, one note at a time.
I have found a "leslie cabinet" effect seems to go very well with the psaltery. As soon as I have recorded some tracks featuring it I'll put them up here. Meanwhile, [shameless plug] if you want to hear some of my conventional music, have a look at this link: [/shameless plug]
Very cool Simon! I love the Sims games, played all of them since they came out many years ago. I've also gotten very good at shameless plugs trying to build membership on this page : ) I shove a "business card" for the web page into the hand of any breathing body that holds still long enough. I don't even embarass myself anymore. Now if only I could get over being shy playing in front of people.
Back to your's great, any more samples and are you barthvapor?
Yes I am Barthvapour! I haven't made many videos for my music but I can send MP3 files if people really want to hear some. Still not got round to recording any psaltery , been busy with things, you know how it is...
I sure do know how it is. Sometimes my head spins from all the projects I have going. Please post when you get that bowed psaltery recorded  : )

There's some interesting related stuff in the "amps with psalteries" thread, although it's mostly performance oriented. For example, while there's' some discussion of pickups, you'll certainly want to use mics for recording.

Seems like recording would be a fine topic to start another thread on. There are several of us here that perform and record, and a few that are checking out electronic gizmos, gadgets, and geeky techniques. I was gonna suggest that you do that, but why bother yapping about it when it's just as easily done, eh. So here's a thread dedicated to recording with psalteries.

Well, I'm still finding my way with recording techniques - I have found the tone that sounds most similar to how my ears perceive it is by using a "beercap" piezo pickup ( which is not expensive. It has the drawback of being very sensitive to handling noise so I'd advise putting your psaltery on a stand to play rather than holding it if you are recording with one of these. It seems to pick up some of the lower frequencies that get lost a bit with microphones that I have used (though I will say that I own a couple of mikes I have yet to try with the psaltery which might give much better results still.)

As for FX, I'd say it's just a matter of preference! Also if you're in the studio you will have better EQ options than I have recording in my house - should be easy to make it sound marvellous :) Steer clear of distortion and overdrive though as the continuing resonance of the strings generally makes a hideous mess of any intervals other than fifths!

I'm sure the bowed psaltery can be used in new kinds of music - that's actually why I bought one.

I mostly write and perform my own music rather than playing anyone else's. Most of it's solo recordings, multi-tracked with a variety of instruments, though I've done some collaborating with other musicians and I'm now in a group with two other people and I'll probably also be recording with another musician who's interested in my work. So that's two groups and solo stuff as well.

I haven't added any bowed psaltery music to the pieces on my website yet, but it features in a work in progress called The Twelve Uses of Dragon's Blood (spot the Harry Potter reference :D) that uses synthesizers, guitar, plucked and bowed psalteries, various percussion instruments and so on.

The website's here: and I'll post an update when there's some bowed psaltery on there.

Beautiful work!  It will take me a while to listen to all of it. Very complex and lots of detail. I think headphones are a must.

When do you think you will add Twelve Uses to your site? I'm curious to hear the psaltery.

Thanks. I'm glad you like it.

I'm listening to part one of Twevle Uses again at the moment, and I think I'll try mixing it in the next couple of days if I can find time.

If that works I'll put it on the website. I think it probably will, but I may decide to re-do parts of it. The psaltery is mixed in with other stuff, but should be clear enough.

I'm looking forward to it, but don't rush! 


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