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19 messages

Help: Harpolute - instrument info

14 Jun 01 - 04:01 PM (#483511)
Subject: Harpolute - instrument info
From: richardw

A friend just moved and passed on to me a Harpolute, manufactured by the Harpolute Mfg Co. of Boston. It has 17 strings, is trapazoid in shape and configuered in C with the bottom C as #1, in the old note numbering system.

I cannot find any information on itthough I cam sure it fits with many of those 1920s and 30s instruments like the ukelin and marxophone. Any ideas?

Richard Wright http:goldrushbc.com


15 Jun 01 - 03:42 PM (#484449)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: Chicken Charlie

Richard--

New Grove Dic'y of Music & Musicians, vol. 8, pp 211-12 has "deep background" on the "harp-lute," starting in England c.1798 and following development down to c.1820.

I guess I can scan those pages and send them to your e-mail site. Can you open JPEG files??

CC


15 Jun 01 - 05:21 PM (#484552)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: Sorcha

I found some pictures on line of a "harplute"--West African and nothing at all like what Richard is describing. I think it is Sephen Bennet who plays a "harpguitar" but it is not like trapezoidal either. I'm still sort of messing around with finding it, but I'll bet it's related to the Marxolin, etc. as Richard said.


15 Jun 01 - 05:47 PM (#484574)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: Sorcha

Check this out- - - are we getting closer?


15 Jun 01 - 05:57 PM (#484590)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: Sorcha

You might also spend some time at the Miner Museum of Strange Instruments. Maybe something there is similar.


15 Jun 01 - 09:44 PM (#484755)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: richardw

Great sites Sorcha, but no seegar.

This has a body similar to n autoharp or marxophone with a round sound hole. I presume it is meant to be plucked as there are no keys etc and the strings are about 3/4 of an inch apart. The trapazoid shape is uneven, so imagine a hammer dulcimer with one side angled more than the other. it is about 18" on the long bottom side. 12 on the anchor pin side (the top, then a short square section and then a12 " side. The fourth side is parrallel with the bottom. Confused?

It is probably of the American zeither family, of a plucked psaltery type. Simple in construction.

I'll have to take a photo and post it.

Richard


15 Jun 01 - 10:55 PM (#484793)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: Sorcha

Weird, Richard. Sorry no seegar, I tried. We can always make up a name for it, as it HarpoZither--lol. I even found a Lute Harpsichord---as big as a harpsichord and played with keys (like a piano) but the body is a big "potato belly" with a round sound hole in the top!


16 Jun 01 - 11:11 AM (#484980)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: richardw

Sorcha;

Here is the shape, sort of. Hope the tabs still work. Wish I had a pencil. Can't figure out how to draw the top line at a slight angle. This is the anchor pin end. Strings run up and down. Labels reads correctly when held in this position. Label says Harpolute, Mfg by Harpolute Mfg. Co. Obviously it was a real hit .

| | | | | | | | | | / | / | / | / |___

Richard


16 Sep 13 - 12:38 AM (#3559191)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: GUEST,Jerry

You might try the Boston Public Library as I have one of these, too. Hope it helps!


16 Sep 13 - 04:09 AM (#3559221)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: GUEST,Zitherophobia

Or just do a Google image search which turns up several, such as this:

Harpolute


16 Feb 16 - 09:09 PM (#3773264)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: GUEST,Julia

Zitherophobia my Harpolute looks just like the pic you shared. Mine belonged to my grandmother. It set on her mantel in my mothers home growing up.


18 May 18 - 07:07 AM (#3925408)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: GUEST

For a little info, scroll down to the bottom of this page, part of a great fretless zither website developed by the late great Garry Harrison: http://www.pickaway.press/fz/znochords.html


18 May 18 - 10:40 AM (#3925483)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: Jack Campin

Looks like a very downmarket toy qanun/kanun. Might be fun to tune to microtonal scales as the kanun can be, though.


18 May 18 - 05:44 PM (#3925569)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: Tootler

Looks a bit like a psaltery. They come in various shapes including trapezoidal though they tend to be symmetrical. Like this:

http://www.earlymusic.co.uk/general/prod_11.htm


20 May 18 - 04:07 AM (#3925831)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: Mr Red

the URL http://www.pickaway.press/fz/znochords.html refers to the Phonoharp Company (Wiki)


22 May 18 - 02:39 PM (#3926427)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: leeneia

Apparently the only person on this thread who actually has a harpolute is the OP, richardw, who posted 17 years ago.

But supposing somebody comes along who has one today, I suggest that you tune it in C (see OP), get some metal fingerpicks, and sound out songs in C on the strings. You might want to get one or two picks for the left hand and throw in a little harmony.

I have seen a toy instrument like this, where you plucked at one string at a time with a triangular plastic pick, but that seems like a limited approach.


22 Jun 19 - 08:16 PM (#3997443)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: GUEST

I have a harpolute that I found at a garage sale, but it is mostly junk and doesn't hold its tuning.   I play hammered dulcimer so I know how to tune the harpolute, but as the strings were tightened, part of the side broke off that holds the tuning pins. Junque.


23 Jun 19 - 06:49 AM (#3997492)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: Bonnie Shaljean

Any idea how old it is? If it suffered from woodworm or other age/storage-damage, that would considerably weaken its ability to hold up under string tension, especially if they're metal. Sorry to hear it didn't survive.


17 Feb 20 - 07:51 PM (#4034702)
Subject: RE: Help: Harpolute - instrument info
From: GUEST,Alan Chenkin

I have one for sale, from a customer.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/254516022552
no warpage, cracks, or rot visible.