Friday, April 18, 2014

The Origin 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 even though the original psaltery was created quite a very long time ago, the bowed version was only invented during the twentieth century. The earliest version was made sometime during the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar from the Bible wherein his servants would use it in order to entertain him. So as one can see, this instrument had a very rich history which began even during the Bible times.

Now other than the Bible, one could actually also find some records of this instrument that would date back to the Medieval period or even the Renaissance period. Of course during this time, this instrument was already slightly modernized in order to sound better. The middle of the psaltery now had a hole so that the sound could echo further and make a solid sound.

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.

In fact, after the invention of the bowed psaltery, there were many instruments similar to this one that came out. American instrument makers tried to make something similar called the Ukelin which was usually used during Hawaiian festivals and ceremonies. Of course the Hawaiians came up with their own version which differed from that of the American one.

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.

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