While I've had my psaltery for a while, I've only spent a few weeks in "real time" playing with it. I favor lower tones and got to wondering what determines the key signature (or key range) on a psaltery.
Is it the length of the strings?
Could one restring with cello stings and get lower tones?
I've seen some very large psalteries with the ranges I like, but I can barely reach the top of my own (I have short arms).
I'd appreciate any thoughts.
Thank you for explaining this. I am going to WinterFest in February to look at some baritones. I'd hate to think of restringing my baby.
And, you are correct, my lowest full note is G4, highest is F6.
Again, thank you for taking the time to explain this.
A correction to a miss-typo in my last message.....
"Psalteries are usually built in a certain key, they are chromatic. That is one of the reasons they are easy to play." SHOULD HAVE SAID : "Psalteries aren't usually built in a certain key"
It's amazing how a couple of missing letters change the meaning of a sentence
If you are having trouble reaching notes, or would like to play a bigger psaltery, then why not play your psaltery 'keyboard' style as I do? Just turn it so that you are at a 90 degree angle to it. You can dip the bows over to play the sharps and you can just move if you can't reach something, so you can always be squarely on a note.
This method allows for greater control of bowing, and, as a bonus, doesn't irritate the back. Give it a try and see how it works for you. Note: you do need a psaltery stand for this to work, but they aren't hard to make. We made a cradle for the psaltery with spare shelving wood and, of course, we use a tripod for the legs.