What? You've never seen any of these instruments before? What the heck are they? I play several of them, and a few of them are 'just for fun'... instruments I've collected through the years to hang on the walls or sit on the shelves. But they all can be played, even if not by me! What makes this collection unique, is that most of these instruments might not be recognizable to you unless you are a traditional music person.
I'll give you the scoop on what they are and how they are played. Let's start with the instrument lying down in the above photo. It's called a biwa, and is a Japanese lute. There are many types of biwa, mine has 4 strings and 7 frets (two are missing). You can watch someone play it here.
YouTube here. (After watching quite a few videos of it being played, I think it would be fun to give it a try. I'll let you know if I master it!)
YouTube. Here's another style of playing. This one is also nice.
Next in line is the bowed psaltery. This instrument was purchased new about 10 years ago by my husband Bruce. He never really did learn to play it, and I've played around with it quite a bit. But today it sits in its nice padded case in our closet. It's a lovely instrument, and I probably should get it out more often to play it. It comes with two bows, and can be played with one or two. It is lovely at Christmas time! You can see and hear it played here.
The last one isn't shown in the photos above, 'cause it was too big. I shot it separately. It's my hammered dulcimer. This is the one instrument in the bunch that I seriously play. I've been playing for about 20 years, and I especially love playing at Christmas time, because it's perfect for the old English & Celtic carols that we all know and love. I don't have a video of myself playing (I'll have to remedy that!) so I'll link you to someone else playing, who is much better than I! The hammered dulcimer isn't related to the mountain dulcimer, except for the name. Although they both have strings, the hammered dulcimer is actually closely related to the piano! They are both played with hammers hitting the strings. After playing the guitar, autoharp and banjo for many years, learning the hammered dulcimer was a challenge, because striking the strings with little wooden hammers, and alternating hands was a completely new experience for me.
I hope you enjoyed my little unusual musical instrument collection! Here are a few more photos just for fun!