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Help identify this small harp - Welsh?

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Helen 07 Dec 04 - 04:17 PM
Megan L 07 Dec 04 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,ollaimh 07 Dec 04 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Julia 07 Dec 04 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,JTT 07 Dec 04 - 06:53 PM
sian, west wales 08 Dec 04 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,JTT 08 Dec 04 - 04:48 AM
GUEST,Kate 08 Dec 04 - 11:19 PM
Helen 09 Dec 04 - 02:03 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 09 Dec 04 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Julia 09 Dec 04 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Dec 04 - 10:51 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 09 Dec 04 - 09:32 PM
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Subject: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: Helen
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 04:17 PM

Hi all

Someone from the e-mail harplist has posted a request to help identify her very small harp. There is a picture of it at this website

The harp is 30" tall, with 17 strings and looks like a miniature pedal harp, without the pedals of course.

A friend of mine, who has moved up the country some years ago, and I have lost touch with him, had a harp which looked just like this one.   He thought it was an old Welsh harp.

Any ideas would be welcome, especially from our Welsh Mudcatters.

Thanks
Helen


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: Megan L
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 04:40 PM

the clarsach or sma harp is also found in Scotland they came in two varieties, the highland - wire strung harp, and the lowland - gut strung harp.


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 05:41 PM

that appears to be a childrens starting harp, possiblt made in france--i've seen french one that are similar, but it isn't a traditional welsh harp regardless of where it's built. the welsh harps don't have the straight pilar nor the hugh but heavy and deadening sound box, that's the stly of european harps that were precursors of the classical concert harp


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 06:49 PM

Not sure where this person is from (or where the harp is), but we saw one just like it in Ellsworth Maine at Helen's diner. The dining room is decorated with antiques and it was in an inaccessible "tableau" above the door. Would have liked to have had a better look...
No doubt if it IS Welsh, someone from the UK harp contingent will let us know
best- Julia


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 06:53 PM

What are the strings made of?


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 04:26 AM

I suppose it depends on how you define "Welsh". To some people, the "Welsh" harp is the triple harp (3 rows of strings and larger), which this isn't. Having said that, I've seen harps made and played in Wales which are similar to this in all but size - both single and triple strung. I'd go with ollaimh on this one, but I don't know all that much about the topic.

siân


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 04:48 AM

By the way, there is a stunning CD of music by Paul Dooley played on a Welsh harp.

Dooley has spent years studying the Robert ap Huw Manuscript, and says that he has decoded the music notation in it.

The six tunes on Music from the Robert ap Huw Manuscript
are beautiful - calm, peaceful airs, wonderfully played.


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: GUEST,Kate
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 11:19 PM

I'm the new owner of this mystery harp--it's currently on a UPS truck somewhere between Oklahoma and California--supposed to be delivered next Tuesday. I'll post to the Harplist and this list when I've had a chance to see it "up close and personal." The seller said the strings were not wire, but didn't know what they were--must be gut, then?
    The thought that it might be a child's harp is intriguing--and would make sense. It's certainly not a lap harp with a base like that, I wouldn't think!
      Thanks so much for all your input and ideas! Keep them coming--and thanks to Helen for posting my query on Mudcat!

Kate in CA


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: Helen
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 02:03 AM

Welcome to Mudcat, Kate. I have to warn you, though, that once you step through the door into Mudcat you might not want to leave because the folks here are so friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 08:15 AM

The harp Paul uses is actually a reproduction of an old Irish harp, not a Welsh harp. There's a page about it on the above Ap Huw link (which is Mudclickyspeak for www.pauldooley.com)

The Ap Huw was written in string tablature, and various attempts have been made over the years to decode it (Charles Burney, Arnold Dolmetsch and Osian Ellis among others). Some of them are not terribly musical, so I am looking forward to hearing what Paul has done with it.


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 10:11 AM

Regarding whether this is a lap harp- I have seen old pictures of harps this size being played on a table while the player stands. As far as strings go, they are probably gut or horsehair- this harp doesn't look rugged enough for the tension of wire.
The straight pillar has me suspicious. Earlier (pre 1800) harps had a bowed pillar.The Celtic and gothic harps were bowed.Later European harps tend toward the straight pillar- the modern Paraquayan harp has one- it descends from the Spanish tradition.
The modern Welsh triple harp has a straight pillar, but the little silver harp which was offered as first prize at the old Eisteddfodd has a bowed pillar.
Personally, I would lean toward European origin.
Best- Julia


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 10:51 AM

I think it's time to ask, "Is there such a thing as a Welsh harp or an Irish harp?" at the time in question.

Given the small number of people who play harp at any given time and the small number of who can afford to stay in business, harp makers may have sold their individual models to whomever would buy them. A Welsh player might have bought from an Irish maker, or a Scottish player from a French maker, et cetera.

Remember that none of these regions are very far apart.

Kate, you might see if the Shrine to Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota will talk to you.


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Subject: RE: Help identify this small harp - Welsh?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 09:32 PM

Historically there very much IS such a thing as a Welsh harp or an Irish harp. It refers to generic instrument types, not where modern makers happen to live, or how many people play harp (of which there are certainly enough to keep a fair number of makers in business).


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