We are an outreach of the Shalimar Baptist Church

   

What:

  Jam Sessions

Where:

  17 Fourth Ave., Shalimar FL 32579

When:

  Most Mon. nights (see Calendar)

 
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Psaltery History
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The audio clip is "Rosin the Beau," played with a pair of hammered dulcimers taking the lead and harmony and the lap dulcimer in the background doing soft chords.

 

 

 

Thumbnail History of the Bowed Psaltery

Psalteries are found, in one form or another, in every major folk culture in the world, dating back thousands of years. They came in all shapes and sizes and some were plucked, some were struck, and some were bowed. The most sacred musical instrument of the ancient Hebrews was a plucked psaltery with 10 strings, which dates back to Biblical times.

The hammered dulcimer is actually a struck psaltery that originated in the Middle East over 3,000 years ago. The bowed psaltery probably dates back around 300 years in Ireland, but it was a great deal different from the ones we have today. Its shape was a right triangle with the longest string on the left, and the strings got shorter as they moved down toward the right. This allowed the bow to get between the pins and reach every string. It was held in the left hand, and the bow was in the right hand.

The modern psaltery is very different from its ancient relatives. The contemporary bowed psaltery is an isosceles triangle with hitch pins on both sides and tuned to the chromatic scale (the same as a piano, with both natural notes and sharps and flats). The contemporary bowed psaltery was probably developed in the late 1940s in Germany. It was brought to the United States in the late 1950s as a simple, easy to play, cheap-to-buy novelty instrument. It spread across much of the U.S. in the next 30 years or so, but most builders built their instruments almost exactly like everyone else before them.

Everyone who builds musical instruments has a "vision" for their product—they build an instrument that matches that vision. In 1996 Omega Strings founder, Richard Spencer, developed a new vision for the bowed psaltery, one that moved it far beyond the simple, easy to play, cheap-to-buy novelty instrument. His vision of the bowed psaltery was a finely crafted, well finished, "concert quality" instrument with a warm, rich tone throughout the range with a haunting sound that stirs the soul.


The Pelican Pickers is a group of dulcimer players and musician friends who meet weekly to play, learn, and share.

We believe in the power of music and in the ability of the dulcimer to put music in the hands of everyone.