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jew's-harp

jew's-harp or jews'-harp, musical instrument of ancient lineage composed of a small metal frame containing a flexible metal tongue. The frame is held between the teeth and the metal tongue is plucked with the fingers. Each jew's-harp can produce only one tone, the quality of which may be varied by modifying the shape of the mouth to emphasize different harmonics of the tone. The musical possibilities may be increased by the use of additional tongues, giving additional tones, and in the early 19th cent., particularly in Germany, jew's-harps were made with as many as 16 tongues. The instrument bears no traceable relationship to the Jewish people. It has also been called jaw's-harp, jew's-trump or jews'-trump.

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Jews harp

Jew's harp (Fr. rebube, guimbarde; Ger. Trumpel; It. scacciapensieri). One of the simplest and most widely distributed instr., being found throughout Europe and Asia. It consists of a tiny iron frame, open at one end, in which end a single strip of metal vibrates. The frame is held between the teeth, and the strip then twanged by the finger. The strip, in itself, is obviously capable of producing only one note, but the harmonics of this note become available by resonance, through various shapings of the cavity of the mouth. Thus tunes can be played.

The origin of the name is unknown and seems to be unconnected with Jewry. The name ‘Jew's trump’ was recorded in 1545.

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Jews harp

Jew's harp • n. a small, lyre-shaped musical instrument held between the teeth and struck with a finger. It can produce only one note, but harmonics are sounded by the player altering the shape of the mouth cavity.

Jew's harp

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"Jews harp." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Jews harp." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved September 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jews-harp

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