The History Of The Psalteries

By Essie Osborn

During the olden times, many musicians would make use of a beautiful string instrument that is known as the psaltery in order to entertain royal families. In those old times, psalteries were small square string instruments that one would play by strumming and plucking just like a guitar. Today, this instrument has evolved and has become very popular among those who like string instruments.

Now just to give people an idea of what this instrument looks like, it is actually a triangle shaped box with a few strings on it and a little bit of pins. In the modern setting, people would make use of bows to make music just like one would do with a violin. Now even if this is the normal way to play it, a lot of people would still use their hands and play it like a harp or guitar.

Now the version with the bow was invented only during the twentieth century while the old version was created even in the Bible times. The earliest record of such an instrument was during the time of the famous King Nebuchadnezzar. Often, King Nebuchadnezzar would ask all of his servants to play this instrument for him so that he could be entertained when there were no royal meetings with the council.

This instrument could also be found in Medieval literature alongside some other similar instruments namely the harp and the zither. Unlike the one from the time of King Nebuchadnezzar, the Medieval versions had sound holes in the middle which made the sound more solid and nicer to the ears. This instrument was also used in order to appease the kings and other royalty.

Now the year nineteen twenty five saw the introduction of the bowed version of the instrument. The one who created it was a German instrument maker who worked for the German company Clemens Neuber Company which patented the instrument so only they could produce it. Now before this was known as the bowed psaltery, it was first known as the violin zither.

After the creation of this one from the German company, the Americans tried to create something rather similar. They used Hawaiian culture as an inspiration for this type of instrument that they were creating. They called this creation of their the Ukelin and the sounds were actually quite similar to that of the Hawaiian ukulele.

Now the end of the Second World war saw the wide popularity of this thing known as the psaltery. It was first popularized by none other than the musical teacher Edgar Stahmer as he used it when conducting his music classes. German primary school teacher Walter Mittman followed in his footsteps and eventually made the instrument even more popular.

These days, many people still play this instrument as a hobby. Now there have been many innovative ways that were created in order for people to play them. From the traditional hand plucking and strumming method, people were then able to play them with bows and nowadays there are many types of bows that one can play this instrument with.

About the Author: