- The psaltery is one of the oldest Lithuanian folk stringed instruments. Imformation about the psaltery can be found in Lithuanian folk songs, tales, legends often reaching the times when Lithuanians were pagans and believed that a man’s soul can dwell in a tree or in a psaltery and speak or sob in a man’s voice.
In the historical sources the psaltery is mentioned for the first time in the 16th century.
Taking into consideration the peculliarities of making, psalteries can be divided into three groups: primary, simple and complex. Gouged from one piece of wood, the primary psaltery is the most ancient and most primitive. The simple psaltery is also gouged from one piece of wood but it is larger, has more (from 9 to 12) strings, and, besides, it is made with greater artistry. The complex is glued up of separate parts: the ends, the sides, the soundboard and the back. The strings of the psaltery were made of catgut or iron or steel wire.
The characteristic features of the general construction of uhe Lithuanian psaltery are as follows. The body has the shape of a trapezoid. One end is narrower – here the strings are fastened. On the other-wider-end the pegs that stretch the strings are fixed. The wider end of the psaltery is cut obliquely: the acute angle is from 17degrees to 70 degrees, the obtuse angle from 100 degrees to 150 degrees. The slant narrows from right to left.
- Measurements: 20x6x2 1/2 inches (52x15x6 cm)
- Vilnius, Lithuania