Pigsnout Psaltery
Pigsnout Psaltery and tuning key
Pigsnout Psaltery

My "Pigsnout" psaltery is based on a number of medieval illustrations and carvings, especially the psaltery on the triptych "Musician Angels" by Hans Memling, now in the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp. That instrument, however, is extremely complex, having 61 strings in the main row, plus another 22 set between the lower strings, attached to hitch posts on the soundboard.

The Diabolus psaltery is a little more manageable. 23 strings, tuned diatonically in C, giving a 3-octave range from a to b'''. Alternative tunings are possible.

To create it, I went back to first principles, and made lots of tortuous calculations to get all the string lengths and tensions theoretically correct. I then modified the design empirically. The result is a good sounding instrument where each string speaks clearly. It has a resonant bass, a bright, clear mid register, and a delightfully tinkly top end.

Memling Psaltery Boetius psaltery Cantigas pigsnout psaltery

Prices

Medieval "Pigsnout" psaltery with tuning key
£300 plus carriage
To order or enquire, please contact me
shim