in the Cantigas of Santa Maria
En: Plucked Psaltery, Hog-nose Psaltery, Es:
Dulcema, Fr: Hachoir, De: Hackbrett, It: Salterio
tedesco, Heb: Psantir
The psaltery (the name coming from the Greek word 'Psalterion') probably
filtered into Europe from the Near East during the crusades.
Dating back about 3000 years, it was first played in Greece and the
Middle East and its basic design - a hollow sound box with resonating
strings stretched across it - was the basis for a very wide family of
zithers, autoharps and hammered dulcimers.
Illustrations dating from the 12th century onwards depict the instrument
in many different forms but the most popular throughout Europe during the
Middle Ages is a trapezoidal shape with in curved sides, often called a
'snout-nosed' or "pig-snout" psaltery.
Each string on this type of psaltery is plucked either with the player's
fingernails or with a plectrum. The strings on the earliest psalteries were
made from gut, but later steel-stringed psalteries make a louder, brighter