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.


References in periodicals archive ?
Medicine Head perform on Top Of The Pops in 1973, with, top right, John Fiddler on guitar and vocals and Peter Hope-Evans on Jew's harp.
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.
End blown and side blown wooden flutes, clay ocarina, metal and wooden Jew's harps, traditional lutes called komuz and upright bowl fiddles combine to create layered musical textures.
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.
IT'S more than 40 years since Chicago jazzman Claude McKin recorded this unique jew's harp cocktail jazz classic.
Prior to the nineteenth century, written references to the Jew's harp are scarce and mention of named players is extremely rare.
On That Day is Cohen's response to 9/11, a two minute hoedown replete with Jew's Harp redolent of Who By Fire.
Judge Gareth Davies: I play the Jew's harp, ride a motorcycle and type at 95 words per minute.
However, GLASS HARMONICA could be subclassed as a percussion instrument, HURDY-GURDY as a stringed instrument, and JEW'S HARP as an equivalent term for mouth harmonica, or harmonica, a wind instrument.
The instruments represented range from the conventional bassoon, flute, harp, harpsichord, lute, lyre, organ, oboe, trumpet, and violin, to the more humble (and even improvised) bagpipe, bladder and string, hurdy-gurdy, jew's harp, marrowbones and cleaver, and salt box--some of these last used less in conventional than in rough music.