I’ve been enjoying noodling around with my bowed psaltery lately, enjoying old tunes and picking out new ones. Holiday music–both Hanukah and Christmas–sound so lovely on the ringing psaltery.
I am a single bow player, but I’ve come to appreciate the artistry of double bowing. Psaltery player Celeste Ray, a member of Four Celtic Voices takes double bowed playing to a new level! (Check out her video on the group’s website: fourcelticvoices.com) Her dexterity is impressive and her sound beautiful! And while most music lovers might stop there, I was equally impressed with her ability to balance the psaltery on her knees. What gives?? Nearly every double bow player I’ve encountered recommends various contraptions to hold the instrument–and now I learn with a little shelf paper (the kind with a tacky surface–a whole roll for $1 at the dollar store!) I too could balance it on my lap! This will open up whole new worlds and increase my comfort even while playing with just one bow.
So as I experiment with Celeste’s approach, I’m reminded of the important question I answer for many of my students–whether psaltery, dulcimer or autoharp: What’s the best way to hold my instrument? And the answer is always the same: Whatever works best for YOU!