jew's harps

What is a jew’s harp?

Jew’s harp is a reed instrument, one of the oldest musical instruments. Its appearance has been recorded in different parts of the world. Each nation has given it its own name. Despite the similarity of the structure, the nations of the world could not come to a single name for this instrument. (More details in the article History of the Jew’s harp’s Origin.) This instrument has reached our days almost unchanged. Its structure remains the same across cultures, only its appearance changes.

Despite the simplicity of its structure, the jew’s harp is notable for the complexity of playing technique. It is necessary to make oscillatory movements of the reed so that the reed does not touch either other parts of the jew’s harp or teeth. The difficulty lies in reproducing a rhythmic melody, combining different timbres of both the jew’s harp and the natural human resonators that are used while playing. Directing the sound to the head, the performer can use the nasal resonator. With the addition of singing, the chest resonator will come into play. (For more information, see the Playing Technique article.)

In ancient times, jew’s harps were used for meditation and to purify human spirit. Nowadays it is also used for the aesthetic pleasure of melodies. Modern musicians are experimenting in search of new sounds. For example, some jew’s harp performers interpret famous tunes, improvisation with beatboxing (see video example). Or they improvise together with DJ’s at club parties. These combinations of ancient and modern trends allow us to call the jew’s harp a musical instrument of our century.

As for Glazyrin’s jew’s harps, they are a modern modification of ancient lamellar reed instruments. Master Glazyrin managed to embody the richness of sound timbre, simplicity of form and attractive appearance in one product. (article about us)

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