mercredi 18 juin 2014

The Beautiful Tunes Of Psalteries

By Ina Hunt

The psaltery has its origin in ancient Greece as a sharp-like instrument. It was originally played using fingers instead of plucking with plectrums. Psalteries vary slightly from one place of origin to the other. Some can be traced back to Europe while others were used in the medieval age. In these regions, there are slight variations in design and name.

Communities in the bible are listed as having used the instrument to aid in pronunciation. It was useful in assisting loyalty and orators to get the right pronunciation especially when they encountered new words. Getting the right pitch gave words their meaning. This information is documented in the books of Chronicles, Samuel, Kings, Psalms and Daniel.

The psaltery consists of a sound board and several strings attached uniformly at an angle. These strings are pre-tuned and produce the desired sound when plucked. Its small size makes it portable to be used in different locations. The uses vary from one person or society to the other. Differences in sizes make the range or pitch of various instruments to vary.

Psaltery had a special position in the medieval age. This is explained by the fact that the instrument was a common feature in most paintings and theatrical performances. It was common to find scripted sections in manuscripts. Entertainment in palaces would not be complete without the instrument.

The 19th and 20th centuries have witnessed the birth of new design variations. The most common is the triangular shaped with a bow end where strings are attached. This has been popularized by commercialization but is yet to overshadow traditional instruments in different communities. This explains the existing variations in different regions.

The bowed psaltery, also referred to as the zither is modified slightly and comes with a playing bow. This is unlike the original design which was played using fingers. The new model has chromatically arranged strings. It produces standard tunes when bowed.

The triangular effect allows each set of strings to extend further than the previous. This is for the chromatic effect which has been enhanced to factor sharps and flats in music. The design of the bow varies depending on its origin. The violin bow is more popular.

The approach adopted when playing the instrument depends on individual players. Different genres of music and styles of play require a unique approach. The size allows the psaltery to be held by hands when being played. Strumming with the fingers facilitates a different tone.

The design might not allow conventional finger plucking because the strings are too close together. This leaves the player with the option of plucking at the end. Sound is amplified by the soundbox with special holes to allow penetration of sound from the strings.

Individuals personalize their instruments through coloring without affecting sound production or quality. Experts in bowing can use two bows in order to achieve double stopping. The quality and pitch of produced sound depend on how tight a bow is, among other factors. The instrument produces beautiful acoustic sound.

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