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    Jew’s harp classification

    Jew’s harp for beginners

    For those who are acquiring this instrument for the first time, we offer a line of special jew’s harps for beginners to choose from. Firstly, these jew’s harps are smaller in size. Secondly, they are designed for practicing strikes, training hands and learning the basics of playing. The sound of these jew’s harps is soft, calm, suitable for meditation and relaxation, for example, when accompanying yoga classes. Jew’s harps with a small frame should be held by the base and only in this way. Compared with narrow-frame jew’s harps, exemplars with a wide frame can boast a number of options for holding; there are significantly more of them.

    Jew’s harp for professionals

    This line of jew’s harps is for people who already have an idea of such a wonderful instrument. These models are much larger in size and, as a result, they become more complicated as to the technique of playing them. Also, the number of possibilities and techniques for creating unique melodies and unusual sounds is expanded. A possibility for detailed sound elaboration emerges. You can experiment with improvisation using fast and intermittent rhythms. The wide frame of the jew’s harp allows you to hold it in various ways: by the frame decks, by the base with two fingers, by the base with three fingers or enfolding it with a hand. (See picture)

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    The structure of the jew’s harp

    What does the jew’s harp consist of? First of all, to understand its structure, it is necessary to know the main components:

    • Tongue – A plate between the decks of the frame, with the oscillation of which, a musical sound is created

    • Frame – Jew’s harp’s metal base

    • Gaps – The distance between the jew’s harp’s tongue and the decks (parallel frame sections). This is one of the most important parameters, responsible for the volume and width of the instrument’s spectrum. The smaller and smoother the gaps, the louder and richer the sound, and the easier it is to emit it (measurement in micrometers).

    • Trigger – Part of the jew’s harp, with which the tongue is brought into a state of oscillation, due to which the sound is formed.

    • Looper – Tip of the tongue that creates a certain tension. Most noteworthy, thanks to it, the necessary resistance is formed for the correct oscillation of the tongue. Also, this place can be hollow, when provided for increasing the weight. Consequently, in this cavity, you can insert a special weight ball, which comes in the kit with such models as Phantom and Phantom Mini.

    • Connecting part – The place where the tongue is fixed to the base.

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    How to use the jew’s harp

    To play the jew’s harp, the first thing to do is attach it to your teeth in the correct way. One has to attach the jew’s harp’s edges to the front teeth. Having opened them just enough for the tongue of the jew’s harp to freely go back and forth while playing. At the same time, the vibration from the plate will be transmitted through the jew’s harp to the teeth. After that to the rest of the resonators – nasal, pharyngeal, oral, thoracic. Accentuation of the extracted sound can be complemented by frontal and abdominal resonators.With the help of all these “assistants” in playing, the sound will spread and be enriched in timbre.

    The instrument can be held with any hand, which is more convenient for you. With the other hand you need to vibrate the tongue with the touch of a finger. To create interesting and unique melodies, you can use the movement of the larynx, your tongue, ligaments and the upper palate.

    Way of playing

    Main ways: timbre arrangement, breathing, articulation, intonation. Breath is used in all its capabilities when playing. Also as a dynamic component. Inhaling and exhaling while playing is equally important for the formation of sound. Unusual sounds will occur by means of intermittent exhalations. Unexpected tricks and combinations will appear.

    Melodization is limited to the overtone scale segment. These limits can be extended with the help of special tools, for example, as in our model Phantom. In this model, it is done thanks to a weighting ball for which there is a special place at the base of the tongue. The ball significantly lowers the original sound of the jew’s harp and creates new and incredible combinations.

    For the correct and beautiful play you also need to observe the following prescriptions:

    Restrictions on playing

    Due to the structure of the jew’s harp and its use, there are some restrictions on the manipulation during the play. One should not open the jaw more than necessary and less than is necessary to keep the jew’s harp in the correct position and to maintain the quality of playing.

    Experiments in making music

    In the last five years, a new direction in the jew’s harp music making appeared. Experienced musicians combine their instrumental playing with simultaneous singing.

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    Jew’s harp origin history

    The jew’s harp is not only a musical instrument for extracting sound, but also an instrument that encapsulates the cultural heritage of the peoples of the world.

    Its birth occurred about two thousand years ago in Europe and several thousand years ago in Asia.

    The music of the jew’s harp did not have musical notes and was passed on from generations to generations only verbally. Because of that, the art of playing and the structure of the jew’s harps of those years came to us only partially.

    This instrument has many names in different languages of the peoples of the world. The European name is the most common, at the moment, in English it sounds like jew’s harp. It first appeared in the 16th century and became widely used after the 18th century.

    Initially, the instrument had the name trump (from the verb to play the trumpet, roar or trumpet). But the literal translation of the current title may mislead our reader, because it translates as a Jewish harp. Jew’s harp has nothing to do with the Jewish people; neither does it look like a harp in its structure and appearance.

    Jew’s harp history

    It can be assumed from its history of origin that the jew’s harp has absorbed a lot of different languages into its name. In French it was jeu trump, which translates as a trumpet for playing, which, in turn, was formed from the Danish jeudgtromp – child’s pipe. In German, it sounds as maultrommel – lip drum. In Estonia, parmupill. In Norwegian and Icelandic, munnharpa. The French version is guimbarde that translates as ridiculous, absurd person. In Latvia, vargas. The Italian version, scacciapensieri has spiritual connotations – to drive out, drive away the thought. In Lithuania, dambras, bandurelis. Bulgarian version is rumbazuk.

    In America, tongue instruments appeared thanks to European merchants; they brought them together with silks and weapons. In this country, these instruments are called trompa, trompe, tyrimpa, and also jew’s harp.

    According to most jew’s-harp experts, the jew’s harp takes its origin from southeast Asia. Then it spread to India and in Europe. Most of its Asian names are similar to the often used – Khomus. For example, komuz, comys, shankobyz, kobyz, gopuz, they all mean a musical instrument. It was also used as a musical instrument in shamanism during rituals. The Turkic people called it khomyhyn, which translates as sorcery, magic, enchantment, witchcraft. Its magical properties were used to banish evil spirits.
    Now these instruments are mainly used to create ethnic music and for immersion in meditation while playing.

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    Types of jew’s harps

    There are plate-like and ring-shaped jew’s harps.

    A plate-like jew’s harp can be made of a metal plate or wood, and also of bone. This type is thin and narrow; the tongue is located in the center of the plate. Ring-shaped jew’s harps are made out of steel by forging, with rounding of the base. In the center of the base a metal tongue is attached. The tip of the tongue is rounded in a special way for the convenience of playing and getting the right sound. The sound of this type of jew’s harp is bright and deep. The appearance of the ring-shaped type of jew’s harps occurred much later than that of the plate-like ones.

    Our company revived the production of this tongue instrument in the center of Russia and collected the best of the two types in one product. Glazyrin’s jew’s harps have – a firm metal body, a thin plate-like tongue, with a rounding at the end; the neatly made piece also boasts an impressive appearance, while the sound of our jew’s harps is clear and pronounced. With all these positive components, the price of the product is not high compared to its analogues.

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