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