Your Bowed Psaltery Adventures: Things People Say!

  When you bravely take your Bowed Psaltery out in public you have to be prepared to say, "It's a Bowed Psaltery" while playing and explain about it little, so many people are amazed they have never seen one before and need to know "What is that?" RIGHT NOW! "Do you ever play the strings in the middle?" Is a pretty common question. You get all possible reactions ranging from complete indifference to absolute "Stop that and go away or I will hurt you." But you will find many people are delighted  to hear it played (in tune), and given a chance enjoy how easy it is to play. One occasion I was playing somewhere and a fellow said to me, "That thing your playing is interesting, but why do you play it instead of a real musical instrument?" A little kid said "Your  instrument is backwards" I thought he meant to a piano keyboard, but he said "No its that you've got way to big an arrow and way to small a bow to shoot it with!" I have to admit I'd never thought of that problem before and enjoyed telling people this story until at a Walnut Valley Festival I told it to a particular fellow (you know who you are)who said "Hey that's what we will call you-"Screeching Arrow!" And tried to follow me from jam to jam to tell his witty remark to anyone he could find. At one point I was setting up my black Bowed Psaltery on its black tripod and a guy came into the room and said "Whats yah gonna play there, a bicycle seat?" I thought that was pretty funny. A lot of people notice the pie or pizza shape and say the bow is trying to cut it. One time at a Rainbow Gathering another young hippie said "That thing is great, but why do they call it a "Soul Tree?" I really like that one. For myself I like to 'Spoonerize' and call it a "Spode Baltery!" A "Bald Peppery." When I am at a Renaissance Faire, there's many a Sultry Wench, but I still tune up with my favorite Psaltery Wrench. I tend to over pronounce it Pa Salt Tree in public just because I've had people come back to me irate, they had looked in the dictionary under "S" and found no such musical instrument! I like to direct people to the last Psalm in Psalms   where it says " Praise Him with the sound of the Trumpet: praise Him with Psaltery and Harp". So someone (I will remain nameless) was reminded of the story of Lot's Wife, where God turned Lot's Wife into a Pillar of Psalteries!? Any way these are just a few that I collected and would love to hear other Bowed Psaltery players stories good and bad. Remember, some people don't like any music and all instruments can be annoying in the wrong place at the wrong time so try not to take it personally.

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Comment by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on December 14, 2015 at 8:58am

 "Can you electrify a Bowed Psaltery? Well you certainly can amplify a Psaltery, but I'd be wary of electrifying a Bowed Psaltery. After all, Psaltery and Battery is against the Law!

Comment by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on July 18, 2015 at 11:03am

 "What are the strings on the bow?" is a pretty common question."Horse Tail" I told one woman who worriedly then asked, "Do you have to kill the horse to get the hairs? " No of course not", I reassured her, "but we do sneak up on them in the middle of the night and pluck the hairs out one by one, and give the horses a chance to kick at us, just to make it fair!"

Comment by David Murton on July 18, 2015 at 9:34am

I am still learning to play & when a friend asked to hear it I managed to get more odd squeaks & squawks than usual. He said it should be called a blowed assault on the ears. I asked what tune he thought I should learn next & he said try The Sound of Silence

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