The psaltery is a stringed musical instrument belonging to the zither family. Psalteries are often depicted in the manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures of 12th to 15th century Europe. The psalteries of Ancient Greece resembled small harps. Modern psalteries are based on the guitar zither and the autoharp.
Psalteries have appeared in a variety of forms and styles throughout history. On the earlier instruments that resembled harps, the strings were plucked. On subsequent versions, the strings could either be struck or bowed.
The bowed psaltery was introduced in the early 20th century and is the style most frequently seen and played today. Modern psalteries are triangular in shape, played with a bow, with strings running down both sides of the soundboard. This unique triangular shape allows the end portion of each string to be bowed.
Here’s another great thing about modern bowed psalteries. You don’t need to learn fingering positions. Each string produces a single note. The bow plays just one note at a time, so the psaltery is primarily a melody instrument. Its haunting sound is well suited to folk songs, hymns, and carols.
More Psaltery Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a psalterist.
Notable psalterists include Satis Coleman, James Jones, Rick Long, Lowell Mason, Eric Meier, Donna Missigman, Ann Tucker, and George James Webb.
King David Playing a Psaltery
Girolamo Da Santa Croce
Fine Art Reproduction on Canvas
James Jones has been building custom musical instruments in his rural Bedford, Virginia shop since 1978. He produces an entire line of fine string instruments, including bouzoukis, hammered dulcimers, Appalachian dulcimers, harps, mandolins, zithers–and of course, psalteries. Visit his website, James Jones Instruments to see what’s available now. This introduction to the instrument is played on one of his 2-1/2 octave alto bowed psalteries.
Welcome to our collection of psaltery gifts. We want you to have fun shopping for psaltery accessories and gifts. Choose from music, instructional guides for players, posters, T-shirts, cooking aprons, refrigerator magnets, jewelry, trucker hats, key chains, coffee mugs, cotton canvas tote bags, stickers, colorful buttons, and more unique psaltery gifts.
Psaltery is an ancient word that defines an ancient musical instrument that is both Harp like and Zither like. Psalteries can be plucked or played with a bow. It is mentioned in old Greek stories and in the Bible both. It has actually been played all through the ages, and many times when you see old photos and think it’s a Harp being played, it’s actually a Psaltery.
The Psaltery musical instrument is unique but many people love the way it sounds and looks so it is gaining in popularity. It is still very popular in Irish folk music and can be seen on many Irish streets in the many musical groups who play in the downtown area of lots of the small towns and cities there. It’s harder to play than it looks, but still easier to play than a Harp. Since it’s much lighter, it’s easier to lug around too. And a Psaltery is quite a bit less expensive than a Harp and has a similar sound so if you love the sound of a Harp, maybe a Psaltery is a good choice for you.
Introduce someone to the beautiful music of this unique string instrument.
We’ve created more than 2,000 products for string musicians and fans. Some of our best psaltery gifts are shared on this page, along with our top picks from other designers. Click on the banner to view the complete String Kings Music Psaltery collection.
These T-shirts are sure to be a conversation starter for anyone who isn’t yet familiar with the beautiful sound created by psalteries. Choose from dozens of styles, sizes, and colors for a truly customized gift.
Refrigerator magnets are one of our best inexpensive gift ideas for psaltery players. They’re also popular with fans of the psaltery. Standard size square magnets measure 2 by 2 inches, and round magnets are typically available in three sizes. Designs are printed on 100% recycled paper. Scratch and UV-resistant Mylar keeps magnets looking as good as new for a long time.
Please don’t worry–just keep calm and play the psaltery. These crown-adorned designs are based on the United Kingdom’s “Keep Calm and Carry On” motivational posters that were introduced in 1939. The sentiment adds a touch of humor and is sure to make any string musician smile.
Mugs are one of our favorite affordable psaltery gifts. Everyone can use a few mugs. Click on any mug to see how the design looks from different angles. Choose from many sizes, styles, and colors to create a personal gift for your favorite psalterist.
Classic cotton-poly twill blend aprons are another of our top picks for practical psaltery gifts. Choose from several style and color options. Spacious front pockets hold plenty of utensils and cooking tools. Aprons are machine washable and proudly made in the U.S.A.
These delicate sterling silver plated necklaces are the perfect gift for anyone who loves this unique and charming string instrument. Silver-colored key chains are UV resistant and waterproof. Necklaces are presented in a special black felt bag that makes gifting a snap.
Everyone loves buttons, and they’re one of our top picks for inexpensive psaltery gifts. Standard size square buttons measure 2 inches by 2 inches. The designs are printed on 100% recycled paper, then covered with scratch and UV-resistant Mylar for added durability. Some designs allow you to choose a different background color for a customized button gift.
It’s a little tricky to tune a bowed Psaltery, so here’s a video that explains it well. If you play a Psaltery, you will definitely be considered unique! If you want to buy a bowed Psaltery or are looking for a Psaltery sale, click here: Psaltery Sale. Amazon always gives you the best price available that day so you really don’t have to worry about waiting for a sale.
(Psalm 33:2) Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.