Jew's Harp


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Jew’s Harp

 

(in Russian, vargan), self-sounding reed instrument, either a plate made of wood, bone, or metal or a metal bow with a reed in the middle. When played, it is pressed to or squeezed by the teeth; the reed is pinched by a finger, thread, or stick. The mouth serves as a moving resonator; the tones of the overtone series needed to play the melody are picked out by changing the shape and size of the mouth cavity. The quietness and small range—a fourth or fifth—of the Jew’s harp limits its repertoire to short dance melodies and traditional tunes. The Jew’s harp is found among many peoples of Middle and Southeast Asia and Oceania (plate-shaped) and also Europe, Central Asia, and Africa (bow-shaped); it has various national names. A perfected Jew’s harp, the aura, was popular in Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

R. B. GALAISKAIA

References in periodicals archive ?
The stark Jew's harp that is his "break" simply adds a raw poignancy to a question that is as simple and basic as Cohen himself is becoming as he matures in grace to be a wizened sage for our time.
The song with a jew's harp is sweet to see, but sounds like the desert.
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People really seem to love the hillbilly instruments,'' said Pasko, who mixes his accordion playing with spoons, washboard, Jew's harp and homegrown percussion instruments.
The other week I explored the history of the jew's harp, which began life in Birmingham, moved to Rowley Regis and then headed back to Birmingham again.
Jack himself was a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, banjo, mandolin, melodeon, mouth organ, and Jew's harp.
The Jew's harp is a global instrument, and a magical or spiritual dimension has been attached to it in many cultures.
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Connections are made between the so-called Jew's harp and development of the harmonica and the accordion.
OF all the unconventional instruments introduced into pop music in the Sixties - harpsichord and sitar, dulcimer and mellotron - one of the most unusual is surely the Jew's harp.
He uses strummed and picked banjo, Jew's harp and shruti box to create some startling music and poetry - much of it to cherish.
Michael Wright's study of the Jew's harp in the law is also a ground-breaking piece, unearthing the association of what in past centuries was an extraordinarily popular musical instrument with criminal wrongdoing.