minstrel: Re: Bowed psaltery documentation

John LaTorre jlatorre at midtown.net
Sat Apr 22 11:03:39 PDT 2000

Well, friends and neighbors, my search for the history of
the bowed psaltery is progressing. I am informed by one
George Kelischek of Sasuto Musical Instruments that this
instrument was invented after World War II by a Westfalian
schoolteacher (named, he thinks, Walter Mittman). The
inventor hoped that the instrument could be used in schools
as a means of teaching music. Mr. Kelischek himself met the
inventor not long afterwards and received permission to make
them, becoming the first person to make them after the
inventor himself; later, he was the first to import them
into the United States.

It appears that the bowed psaltery was quite a fad for a few
years. According to Mr. Kelischek, Mr. "Mittmann" quit his
teaching position and opened up a commercial shop to make
the instruments, and other shops in Germany and Switzerland
made them as well. As a teaching tool, however, it proved to
be a disappointment and no longer appears to be used in

I don't know if Walter Mittmann was intentionally
reconstructing (or re-inventing) a more ancient instrument.
The quest continues.


John LaTorre (Johann von Drachenfels)

"Always do right. It will gratify some people & astonish the
--Mark Twain

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