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Tech: Unusual Autoharp

09 Dec 02 - 04:26 PM (#844048)
Subject: Tech: Unusual Autoharp
From: John MacKenzie

Anybody ever seen one like this?

See here


09 Dec 02 - 04:40 PM (#844060)
Subject: RE: Tech: Unusual Autoharp
From: Bat Goddess

Difficult to see as the photo wouldn't enlarge for me at all -- but it looks sort of like a Marxophone or Celestaphone. These were instruments that were sold door-to-door in the early part of the 20th century.

"The Marxophone is a musical instrument that has four sets of chord strings (Cmajor, Gmajor, Fmajor and D7) to be strummed with the left hand and two octaves of double melody strings (Cmiddle - C'') which are struck by metal hammers activated by the right hand. The hammers are mounted on spring steel and produce a mandolin-like sound from repeated bouncing on the strings, hence the name mandolin-guitar-zither that was sometimes applied to the Marxophone." (from one of the websites)

I first ran into one about 17 years ago being played by Katharine Rhoda, who also plays another unusual stringed instrument, the ukelin.

I've got a Celestaphone under the couch, waiting for time to restore and re-string.

They sound great, easy to play, but have limited keys they can play in.


09 Dec 02 - 04:51 PM (#844067)
Subject: RE: Tech: Unusual Autoharp
From: John MacKenzie

The seller reckons this is about 1900, it also has a slide mechanism, which you might see sticking out of the top, in the picture. Seller describes it as some sort of adjustable tuning system. Odd aint it!!

09 Dec 02 - 05:36 PM (#844089)
Subject: RE: Tech: Unusual Autoharp
From: curmudgeon

This appears to be a fancy looking six chord autoharp. The "slide" may enable one to change the six chords, but I'm not sure how that would work.

IMHO, it's already overpriced as a musical instrument. For a decorator, however, who would augment the decor of some non-musical ostentatious manor, the price is far too low -- Tom