All about Baltic Psaltery

Varieties of Baltic Psaltery
Psaltery is divided into 3 main types traditional, stationary and academic Baltic Psaltery

Type 1: Traditional Baltic Psaltery
It has 3 variations.

  Var 1:  wing-shaped Baltic Psaltery

Russian gusli, Finnish kantele, Estonian kannel, Latvian kokle, Lithuanian kankles

This type is the best for beginners. You don’t need special education. It is rather sheap instrument. It has such name because of its form looks like a wing. It has 5-17 strings. It is very easy to teach you self to play wing-shaped Psalteries. Just for 20-30 minutes you can play first simple music. Related instruments Kankles, Kokle, Kantele, Kannel and Krylovidnye Gusli.

  Var 2:  Lyre-shaped Baltic Psaltery.

Russian gusli, Finnish kantele, Estonian kannel, Latvian kokle, Lithuanian kankles

It is the oldest type of Baltic Psaltery. Lyre-shaped Baltic Psaltery has special opening in upper part of the instrument’s body. That sign is in common with lyre. It has 5-11 strings.

  Var 3:  Helmet Baltic Psaltery

Russian gusli, Finnish kantele, Estonian kannel, Latvian kokle, Lithuanian kankles

This type of instrument is more expensive than wing-shaped Psaltery and it is for professional musicians, it is rather hard to play it but not so hard as academic psaltery. I think you have already guessed that its name it gets because of its form looks like helmet. Helmet psaltery has 10-26 strings.

Type 2: Stationary Baltic Psaltery created through helmet Baltic Psaltery. Stationary psaltery has 55-66 strings.

 

Type 3: Academic Psaltery

This instrument is intended for professional musicians.
One of a differ from traditional psaltery is thickness of strings. Academic psaltery has strings thicker than traditional (that’s why you need mediator to play it), but its sound is louder. It has 15-17 strings.
It is not easy to teach yourself to play this type of psaltery , it takes a long time, also you need read some music theory book and self-teaching sheet music or go to music school. Clavichord and Stringed Baltic Psaltery are special variation of Academic Psaltery. Technic of play Stringed Baltic Psaltery is rather hard musician need to play alternately with both hands. Clavichord instrument has a keyboard. Musician press to the key with left hand, and in the same time push strings with right hand. This instrument is used primarily in folk instrument orchestras.

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