Here's a video of the contrabasse psalterion. Wow!!

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Comment by Rick Long on February 5, 2010 at 7:32am
That's great Grego, I hadn't noticed the face in it. My experience with those low bass tones are that they can be tricky to deal with. Those lower frequencies can quickly become very muddy sounding because of the overtones on a bowed psaltery. Great for slow drones, but I still found that I had to dampen a note with the bow I was playing it with, and then bring in the next note with the second bow. That was my first experience with double bowing in 1995 while working on my first CD. There's a short clip of Amazing Grace from that CD on this site. The bass really stands out on that song, you can hear a slight delay of the bass drone coming in for each next note. That's' when I was dampening and bringing in the second bow. Really hard to do cleanly, but we made it work after many, many takes. Everything works fine when you are in the first chord of a tune, but when you move to that next chord and the tones overlap it starts to rumble. The same thing happens in the higher notes, it just doesn't stand out to your ear in those frequencies. I have only made two bass psalteries, but the sound box was very small on each. That's not a big deal when recording and miked. The psaltery in this video is the size you really need to make those low tones sound out enough to be heard acoustically. Being able to see the maker lable through the sound hole, it looks like it isn't a deep sound box. I've seen several pictures of this psaltery, but none from the side or back. It's super interesting, though. I've always said I love the fact that the bowed psaltery is wide open to experimentation.
Comment by Greg (Grego) Dana on February 4, 2010 at 7:28pm
Gorgeous, the way the low tones resonate almost forever, providing a virtual drone.
I don't know the principles of vibrational patterns on the top face of instruments, but wonder whether the sound holes being on either side, leaving the longest stretch of wood in tact in the center, allows that length to produce an especially big wave pattern. Seems like that would be good for a contra bass.
Anyway, cute that those holes in combination with the bridge give it a sad ghost face.
I'd like to hear him do some arpeggios, layer up sounds like the amazing choruses of strings in your recordings Rick.
Comment by Donna Malus on February 3, 2010 at 7:29pm
That is one MASSIVE psaltery!

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