Donna Malus
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  • Glendale Heights, IL
  • United States
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An Article about Rosin from Strings Magazine

Started May 1, 2016 0 Replies

The Differences Between Dark and Amber RosinJANUARY 5, 2004Deciphering what…Continue

Tags: psaltery, bow, bowed, light, rosin

Congratulations to Spring Creek Psalteries!

Started Aug 18, 2015 0 Replies

I want to extend a big "congrats" to Sharon and Terry Kirby of Spring Creek Psalteries. Their beautiful psaltery took best in show at the 2015 Y-Bridge Arts Festival In Zanesville Ohio! …Continue

Tags: streichpsalter, arco, folk, instrument, wooden

Showcase of the Best Bowed Psaltery Videos

Started Mar 1, 2015 0 Replies

You'll notice new content in the upper right hand column. I will periodically feature a new video.These are the videos that member of Psaltery Strings have selected as solid representations of how…Continue

Music for the 6th Bowed Psaltery Symphony

Started this discussion. Last reply by Tish Westman Mar 5, 2015. 6 Replies

Here are the basic melodies for three songs for the symphony, I have audio files for Barbara Allen and The Great Silkie too.  I hope to get Mary Hamilton/Four Marys up in the next few days. Tish has…Continue

The Tuning Wench

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Donna Malus's Page

Latest Activity

Johanna M Bolton commented on Donna Malus's video

RIck Long on Bowed Psaltery - Cove Lake State Park

"I recognize that second song. It's from the movie Tammy ... I'm old enough to have seen it when I was a kid. Sweet melody. "I hear the nightingale sing to the dove, Ta-m-my, Ta-m-my, Tam-my's in love ..." Gorgeous instrument."
Sep 24, 2021
Donna Malus commented on Donna Malus's video

RIck Long on Bowed Psaltery - Cove Lake State Park

"Hi Mary,  The first song is Sally Gardens (Down by the Sally Gardens) second song I'm not 100 % sure but I believe it's Tammy's in Love, and the third is Wayfaring Stranger.  The bowed psaltery is difficult to record and I…"
Aug 23, 2021
Mary Jividen commented on Donna Malus's video

RIck Long on Bowed Psaltery - Cove Lake State Park

"Yes, this is very beautiful and thank you very much for sharing this.  What are the names of the three songs played?  Does Rick Long make and sell psalteries such as this one?  I do agree with Andre Landrum that there is too much amp…"
Aug 22, 2021
Donna Malus replied to Diane E Baumer's discussion Admin?
"I have been booting anyone who I hear has sent spam messages. It's happening more often lately. The spammers are getting very smart about answering the questions given when they join. I had one soon to be spammer talk all about meeting Rick…"
Nov 17, 2019
Donna Malus commented on Nozomi Nose's blog post We are safely back in Japan
"Nozomi-san, I am so sorry I was not able to attend and meet you. How wonderful it was that you could join the Gathering. I hope you are able to do so again. "
Nov 17, 2019
Donna Malus commented on Donna Malus's video

RIck Long on Bowed Psaltery - Cove Lake State Park

"Denise and Camelia, this is a baritone psaltery. The cello strings used on this psaltery would never fit on a regular psaltery, to wide but also they need more length. Ricks bariton with the cello strings has to be played using an amplifier or there…"
Nov 17, 2019
Denise S commented on Donna Malus's video

RIck Long on Bowed Psaltery - Cove Lake State Park

"Can you use the Cello strings on a regular Psaltery, or would the holes in the pegs be too small?"
Oct 6, 2019
Robert Myers replied to Donna Malus's discussion Sheet Music for October 2013 - Clergy's Lamentation
"Darby, I am one of those on the other side of old trying to lean music with out music reading skills. Thanks for asking this question. Robert"
Sep 7, 2019
Robert Myers replied to Donna Malus's discussion Psaltery Strings Music Book Volume 2
"He Leadeth Me! O Blessed Thought"
Sep 7, 2019
Deborah Hart replied to Donna Malus's discussion Psaltery Strings Music Book Volume 2
"Sharon can you include songs like  The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face?                                                     A Thousand…"
Jul 12, 2019

Profile Information

Do you own a bowed psaltery?
Yes, seven of them
How did you discover the bowed psaltery?
I was struggling with violin and cello, but didn't want to give up bowing. I was googling bowed instruments and came across the bowed psaltery. I fell in love.
Who built your bowed psaltery?
Eric Meier (Phantasy Psalteries) Greg and Tish Westman (Westman Instruments), Rick Long (Ringing Strings), the Esch Family (Inspired Instruments) and Charles Rogers, Jr. (Crooked Creek Psalteries) and my newest a Tenor D from Rick Long (Ringing Strings) and a sweet sounding soprano from Tom Fellenbaum.
Do you perform with the bowed psaltery?
Once in a silly talent show, last year (2010) at the First Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony and recently at the Second Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony.
Do you build bowed psalteries for sale?
Do you teach the bowed psaltery?
am a student hoping to get better, but want to teach pre-schoolers and K-2 before the end of 2011.
How did you find out about our Psaltery Strings network?
Well, I actually started it out of desperation for a single source of psaltery info.

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Donna Malus's Blog

A Rose by any other name.....

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 5:32pm 2 Comments

Up until now, if I was asked what my all-time favorite song was I would have said “Ode to Joy”.  Now I’m not sure that’s the right answer!

This past weekend at the East TN BP Gathering the comment was made that a piece of sheet music titled “Ode to Joy” was really called "Joyful, Joyful".  This raised my curiosity and I did a little research.  

Beethoven wrote his 9th and final complete symphony over a 7 year period, 1818-1824. By that time he was considered totally deaf (some…


A Fun Summer Project

Posted on October 6, 2013 at 3:53pm 9 Comments

If I was still in school and the teacher asked me what I did on my summer vacation, I'd have to tell her about Violet.

Violet is a doll I made. She is all crochet and has her own bowed psaltery. As time allows I'm planning on making her some friends. Some of her friends will play bowed psaltery and some will play other folk instruments.

I hope you like her. She was very fun to create.…


A Journey of a Thousand (maybe a million) Steps

Posted on May 21, 2011 at 9:48am 5 Comments

A friend of mine loves to tease and poke fun at the bowed psaltery and my playing (maybe it's more about my skills then anything else ). It's not his type of music so I get it and ultimately he is supportive of my musical endeavors.


Recently he was at the airport and heard a familiar sound wafting through the air in an underground tunnel. He looked around and saw a woman playing a bowed psaltery with a jar out for donations. He approached her and asked if her…


A thought that most of us share..

Posted on March 26, 2011 at 9:11am 0 Comments

Our member, Jon Williams, made this comment and I think most, if not all, of us here feel this way. Jon, I hope you don't mind my quoting you.

" I am focusing on Bowed Psaltries because I can play them better, love the sound, the looks, the way it sounds like a violin in a cathedral. I have seen people shed a tear after playing Amazing Grace for the first time. I still love a well played mountain dulcimer but the bowed psaltry touches my heart. Also I can teach anyone able to breathe…


Comment Wall (328 comments)

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Join Psaltery Strings

At 5:55pm on May 8, 2018, Sharon Fidler said…

Donna, I've been watching your Youtube videos for quite a while and I thank you so much.  I just stumbled across the BP pin and necklace you made a while ago (I was looking for BP jewelry of some sort) and I fell in love!  More beautiful than I ever anticipated.  Do you still make them?  I fully appreciate how much work goes into them, so I expect you to charge properly for them!  Thanks for everything.

At 10:23am on March 24, 2018, Becca said…
Wanting to begin. Needing pro/con suggestions on size and makers.
At 10:27am on January 4, 2017, Lois Skiffington said…

Thank you.  Happy New Year.  Love of psalteries is contagious. 

At 12:13pm on December 9, 2016, janet vanhandel said…

Thanks for adding me as a friend.   I am new to the psaltery world as I have just acquired a James Jones psaltery and love the haunting sound.  My main love is the hammered dulcimer, but the psaltery is now being added to my love of musical instruments.   I will enjoy being on this website and reading others comments and questions. 

Janet VanHandel 

At 10:36am on December 5, 2016, Mary Clare said…

Thank you for the welcome! I recently met a lady at a living history event who was playing the bowed psaltery, and it looked like so much fun. I found one on ebay and am enjoying learning to play it very much.

At 12:24pm on December 4, 2016, Freda Moore said…

Thanks for the welcoming me. I have been playing for about a year and 1/2 and so enjoy finding other folks who play the bowed psaltery.

At 2:54pm on December 3, 2016, Betsy Kopyc said…

Thanks so much for welcoming me. I just bought the bowed psaltery, and am loving finding pieces to play. I live in Maine, so hope that through this forum I can find like-minded people in my area.

At 12:31am on November 15, 2016, Deborah Hart said…

Thank you for welcoming me Donna. I am new to this, but very. happy with my psaltery!

At 5:43pm on October 21, 2016, Kimberly Rankin said…
Thank you Donna.
At 7:39pm on October 11, 2016, Frances Bercher said…

I just posted some questions on this site  about the psaltery - hope someone can answer. Thanks


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.



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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