The psaltery of Ancient Greece (epigonion) is a harp-like instrument. The word psaltery derives from the Ancient Greek ψαλτήριον (psaltḗrion), “stringed instrument, psaltery, harp” and that from the verb ψάλλω (psállō), “to touch sharply, to pluck, pull, twitch” and in the case of the strings of musical instruments, “to play a stringed instrument with the fingers, and not with the plectrum.” The psaltery was originally made from wood, and relied on natural acoustics for sound production.
In the 19th century, several related zithers came into use, notably the guitar zither and the autoharp. In the 20th century, the bowed psaltery came into wide use. It is set up in a triangular format so that the end portion of each string can be bowed.
Similar instruments include the large cimbalom and the smaller dulcimer, both usually played using small hammers to hit the strings.
Its main characteristic is the versatility. It can be pluck, played with a plectrum, as a percussion instrument or as a stringed one.
It can be played by placing it on the legs. It can also stay on a leveled ground or be grasped in a comfortable way even if the player has some motoric problems.
Its timber is highly evocative.