The bowed psaltery is a 20th century re-imagining of the psaltery, a plucked zither dating as far back as ancient times. The instrument produces a high, almost glassy tone similar to other fretless zithers, and does an excellent job of standing out in any mix. With a sound reminiscent of its medieval roots, it’s a sure match for any fantasy or historical track.
We have painstakingly chromatically sampled the entire range of a two-octave example with 14 total articulations ranging from the original bowed to plucked, picked, and even struck with a hammered dulcimer mallet, all with up to 8 round robins.
Ancient Looks, Modern Sounds
The instrument we sampled was built by Jerry Read Smith (Song of the Wood Ltd.) of North Carolina, and is his two-octave Maple model, from G to G, a standard size for bowed psalteries.
After numerous tests with various patterns and setups, we decided on a pair of Rode NT5’s in a NOS array approximately 18″ above the instrument, and a close Aston Spirit LDC in cardioid about 8″ above the instrument.
Approximately two hours went into recording the instrument, with great care taken to capture the full, resonant decays of each note.
Mallet (Hammered Dulcimer)
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