minstrel: new topic/psaltry

hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu
Thu Apr 20 10:03:38 PDT 2000

On Thu, 20 Apr 2000, Greg Lindahl wrote:

> > On pictorial evidence, all the pictures of psaltreys in _Musickgeschichte
> > in Bildern_, vol 3, 1977 VEB, Leipzig, show them being plucked.  There
> > aren't very many picture of psaltreys here, but all the other ones I
> > remember seeing also involved them being plucked or hit with hammers like
> > the modern hammered dulcimer.
> Hammered dulcimers are period. They are in fact identical to
> psaltries, except for the playing style.

Do we know anything useful about the historic playing style of hammered
dulcimers?  To me, the modern playing style strikes me as being fairly
"evolved" and specialized -- i.e., that it isn't necessarily the only
intuitively obvious way of playing a psaltery with hammers.  (I'm thinking
of aspects like the "rolling" strike -- sorry for not knowing the
technical terms -- and particular aspects of arrangement and harmony that
seem to derive from the specific tuning patterns and interlacing of the
strings of the modern instrument.)

One of the reasons I'm curious is because, to me, someone playing a
hammered dulcimer in the modern styles screams "modern" to my brain, even
if the underlying melody is historic, and I don't know whether this is
simply the context in which I usually hear it, or what.


Heather Rose Jones         hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu

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