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Help: Jew's Harp question!

Related threads:
Attn: Jews Harp Players (34)
how to play a jaws harp (26)
Any jews harp players out there? :-) (28)


GUEST,khandu 31 Jan 01 - 08:43 PM
Sorcha 31 Jan 01 - 09:12 PM
mkebenn 31 Jan 01 - 10:38 PM
SeanM 31 Jan 01 - 10:41 PM
MarkS 31 Jan 01 - 11:28 PM
SeanM 31 Jan 01 - 11:29 PM
catspaw49 31 Jan 01 - 11:43 PM
GUEST,IMP 01 Feb 01 - 01:39 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 01 Feb 01 - 09:33 AM
Micca 01 Feb 01 - 09:33 AM
Blackcatter 01 Feb 01 - 04:15 PM
Art Thieme 01 Feb 01 - 05:04 PM
Micca 01 Feb 01 - 06:07 PM
mousethief 01 Feb 01 - 06:10 PM
Tone d' F 01 Feb 01 - 07:53 PM
Lucius 01 Feb 01 - 08:03 PM
SeanM 01 Feb 01 - 08:06 PM
catspaw49 01 Feb 01 - 08:14 PM
Cap't Bob 01 Feb 01 - 08:17 PM
Blackcatter 01 Feb 01 - 10:10 PM
GUEST,Fred 01 Feb 01 - 10:21 PM
finnmacool 02 Feb 01 - 05:19 PM
Bardford 02 Feb 01 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,Fred 02 Feb 01 - 08:13 PM
Mark Cohen 02 Feb 01 - 11:03 PM
Bluebeard 02 Feb 01 - 11:05 PM
reggie miles 03 Feb 01 - 12:19 PM
Cap't Bob 03 Feb 01 - 12:47 PM
Lucius 03 Feb 01 - 01:10 PM
Deckman 03 Feb 01 - 02:29 PM
reggie miles 03 Feb 01 - 02:33 PM
Deckman 03 Feb 01 - 03:05 PM
Mark Cohen 03 Feb 01 - 05:06 PM
Lucius 03 Feb 01 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,khandu 03 Feb 01 - 07:48 PM
reggie miles 03 Feb 01 - 08:13 PM
catspaw49 03 Feb 01 - 08:26 PM
Art Thieme 03 Feb 01 - 09:26 PM
Mark Cohen 03 Feb 01 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,khandu 04 Feb 01 - 12:13 AM
Manitas 04 Feb 01 - 11:33 AM
Lepus Rex 04 Feb 01 - 02:27 PM
reggie miles 04 Feb 01 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,khandu 04 Feb 01 - 07:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Feb 01 - 07:46 PM
Mark Cohen 04 Feb 01 - 08:52 PM
Blackcatter 05 Feb 01 - 12:29 AM
GUEST,Fred 05 Feb 01 - 01:13 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 05 Feb 01 - 01:50 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 01 - 07:49 AM
Noreen 05 Feb 01 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,John Hill 08 Feb 01 - 05:47 AM
Mark Cohen 08 Feb 01 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,luke 02 Mar 04 - 01:53 PM
Blackcatter 02 Mar 04 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,Van 03 Mar 04 - 05:38 AM
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Subject: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 08:43 PM

Off and on for years, I have attempted to make a sound from a Jew's Harp. I cannot. The best that I have accomplished is to leave a mean-assed blister on my tongue from being slapped by the whatzit.

How do you play these things?

khandu


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Sorcha
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 09:12 PM

I don't play one, but my dad did. You gotta keep your tongue out of the way, and make a sound chamber of your cheeks, teeth, and whole mouth........change the pitch of the note by changing the shape of your cheeks, etc. Maybe somebody else will be more helpful.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: mkebenn
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 10:38 PM

Tried once, cut lip..not worth it. Mike


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: SeanM
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 10:41 PM

It's kinda hard to explain... the way I play it is to hold my jaw apart enough to let the flange-ey thing vibrate, rest the upper and lower tines against upper and lower teeth, pull lips out of the way, and hit the striker (or whatever it's called). From there, as noted above, it's all about shaping of the mouth and tongue...

M


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: MarkS
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 11:28 PM

Also helps if you try to make an exhaling sound like a sigh when you strike the spring.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: SeanM
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 11:29 PM

Actually, I've found you can get interesting effects both ways... Opening your throat mutes the sound somewhat, and inhaling even more... exhaling tends to push the sound farther, which is good if you're not miked...

M


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: catspaw49
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 11:43 PM

This cracks me up!!! Mike and khandu sum it up for me!!! LMAO!!!!!!! I can't do it although I do OK with a mouthbow....sorta'.

Now my Ol' Man on the other hand...............Readers of this forum will recall that my Dad was tremendous practicla joker. He didn't play any instrument at all including this one, but a lot of guys thought he did. How you ask? He could imitate the sound perfectly and he'd hold his hand up with the thing in the classic mouth covered position and go through the motions while twanging away vocally. I guess this is some sort of talent, but I could never believe he fooled people with it! Another railroader said to me at his funeral, "Your Dad could really play that Jew's harp too!".........Provided some great comic relief for me and I didn't have the heart to tell him that the Ol' Man once again was getting the last laugh.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,IMP
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 01:39 AM

What makes sense? Don't be discouraged by all those people (like my dear wife) who reckon not being able to play the jew's harp is a service to the rest of humanity.

I recall finding the trick. Apart from getting teeth and things out of the way of the vibrating bit, I have to think about lowering my soft palate to open access between the back of my mouth and nose. What? I just tried it. If I try and breath through my nose - no sound. If i breath through my mouth when I play - bingo!

I drive my tongue back and forth to change pitch (a bit!).

Also! I just remember that I tried a few jaw harps without much success before I got a small one with a little tongue. With this one I can make a really big sound. The others I've thrown away.

Lotsaluck


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 09:33 AM

SeanM pretty much has the way of it. the tines have got to rest against the teeth so as to use skull conduction for your sounding board. the tines are held in position by lip pressure. The mouth becomes the air column.

A little tip I learned from Rolf Harris is that if you open the airway and let the air column come from the diaphragm it's like adding an amplifier!

The third thing is not to pull the striker too hard just flip it lightly with the back of the index finger.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Micca
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 09:33 AM

Spaw, have you ever come across a Classical piece of music By Albrecht Berger called Concertos for Jews harp, mandola,and orchestra???


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Blackcatter
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 04:15 PM

The best advice is to make sure to have a 'harp with as light or thin a tongue as possible. Rest the tines tight against your teeth. Gently place your lips against the tops of the tines. Hold the curved part firmly, avoiding the tongue completely. Keep your tongue back, but to get different notes you'll tend to move it up and down. Pluck away.

Keep on the practicing, the jews harp is a fine instrument a noble instrument that few understand and few fully appreciate. Once you get the hang of it you'll be ready to join the Jew's Harp Guild (check the web and there's also the address around here somewhere)

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Art Thieme
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 05:04 PM

Albrechtsbarger (not sure of spelling) was a teacher of Beethovens. He did do this very nice concerto. It has been recorded and is available.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Micca
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 06:07 PM

I have a cassette of the Concerto.. and could copy it for anyone intersted...


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: mousethief
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 06:10 PM

Heard this concerto on the classical station in Chicago. Delightful.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Tone d' F
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 07:53 PM

My father played the jew's harp, rekons the vibrations caused his teeth to fall out...nah it was age


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Lucius
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 08:03 PM

Is the instrument similar to the Jaw Harp, or is a purely ethnic instrument?

And isn't it the instrument that Issac Hayes soloed on throughout his smash hit "Shaft".


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: SeanM
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 08:06 PM

I've heard them called "Jew's Harp", "Mouth Harp", "Jaw Harp" and a few other names. It all comes down to being a twangy instrument played by plucking the tongue of the instrument while it's resting against the mouth. Twangy kinda sound, mostly known in the US for being 'rustic' and 'hillbilly'.

M


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 08:14 PM

When I was working in a music store back in the early 70's we used to have them hanging on a card with the name on it. Most of the ones we got were simply labeled "Jaw Harps" in deference to some early PC. One day we unpacked a shipment of stock stuff from D&H I think and in it was another card of jaw harps.......however this card went about 2 steps over the PC line of reasonable sense and they were called Bruce Harps. Cracked us all up!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 08:17 PM

Should the need arise a good dentist can put a cap on a chipped tooth and it will look as good as new. It worked for me.

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Blackcatter
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 10:10 PM

There's any number of names for them - there's quite a few different cultures who use them too - in South East Asia and the Pacific Islands they're used as courting/mating instruments.

The name jews harp is probably the most common in English and is generally accepted by the leading 'harpists around the country.

There is no evidence that it has anything to do with Judaism but no one has a definative reason for the name. Anyone who tell you otherwise can probably give you an exact definition of the term "folk music" as well.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,Fred
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 10:21 PM

One of the things I find essential is to press the tines against my teeth firmly with my hand grip. I just rest my lips on the tines. If I don't press firmly, the thing will vibrate the hell out my teeth. Also it's important to get the distance to open your teeth just right, wide enough to avoid the striker and close enough to keep good contact with the harp.

These things have been around in some form or another for centuries and all over the world. The Tuvan singers I heard a few years ago have a bamboo version, and the technique of keeping the throat open is related to how they do their throat singing. I find if I keep my throat open, I can breath in and out without much effect on the sound produced (I don't think--I guess I'd really have to ask someone listening). They also vary lots in size, resiliency, etc. My favorite was made in Italy.

I also have heard that concerto and was blown away with the wide range of tones the soloist could get out of his harp. I can't do much more than bending the basic note up and down a bit, enough to do things like "Old Dan Tucker" or "Every Time I Go to Town" (which Buffy Saint Marie did on a mouth bow).


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: finnmacool
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 05:19 PM

Re Jews Harp, I read somewhere that they were used as an instrument for courting, so I tried it one day, but all I attracted was a big crow who **** down on top of me. Perhaps I sounded like an old friend of his or something ? I met another man one day in Ireland and he said you should be careful playing a jews harp or you might end up with a mouthful of rashers i.e. bacon. Jews/ Jaw harps have been found in excavations in Ireland dated as far back as 13th -14th centuries.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Bardford
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 06:06 PM

Any other moustache-wearing Jews Harp players encounter the "catch-the-stache-betwixt-the-finger-and-the-twanger" syndrome? Tears to the eyes, it brings. I'd like to hear of any remedies, short of electrolysis.

Cheers, Bardford


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,Fred
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 08:13 PM

Bardford, I also have a mustache and beard, but I guess mine is short enough. I don't recall ever catching it in my harp.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 11:03 PM

Larry Hanks, of Bellingham, Washington, is one of the outstanding jews harp players in the country. I think he even won a national competition once, or more. Just in case anybody wanted to know. Larry can often be found at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop--at least that was true some years ago--and would probably be more than happy to give lessons. If he's there.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Bluebeard
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 11:05 PM

I don't play the harmonica much anymore since I grew facial hair...God that hurts. My Dad showed me how to play the Jaw Harp. He used to kind of inhale/exhale tunes as he went about his business...silent whistling, I guess.Once the Harp is against your teeth, your lips drawn back, you do that and from the diapragm. Very important! I have Harps in different keys, also very important. Good Luck


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: reggie miles
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 12:19 PM

Yes I've seen the keyed ones for sale in music stores in the area. I first stumbled across my grandfather's years ago and carried it around so much that the end of the twanger, (the piece you pluck), broke off. It was the made in England type with a large body and a reed which was filed. I looked for years for another like it but could not find one. What I did find in my searching was that there have been many makers of these curious things over the years. The best or should I say the most responsive of these metal reed instruments that I have run across were those made in Austria. The best of these Austrian made examples were those with smaller bodies and therefore smaller reeds. The Austrian type had slightly lighter bodies than those produced in England and a similar filed reed. The smaller the reed the more easily it could vibrate and the easier it was to manipulate to produce variety in tone and character.

I'm no ace on these guys but I did have the good fortune to play with one of the best. Years ago, while performing at one of them low bars and dives that musicians like myself often end up in over the course of our sordid careers, I was introduced to someone named Bob, just Bob. Bob was wanting to perform with our little ragtag washboard/street/string band at our lowly show that evening. Upon meeting me, he, quite confidently I might add, announced that he was the best player of these curious little reed instruments west of the Mississippi. Well, that was a big boast as far as I was concerned and naturally felt that no man had the right to speak of his talent in that way without expecting someone to challenge him to back up his inflated self view. So I took the bait and asked him what do you mean? Well, he began, do you know which tune fiddlers use to test each other's ability? Before I could answer he volunteered Orange Blossom Special and played a rousing rendition. I stood mouth agape completely stunned by his masterful manipulation of this little oddity. I could only make boingy noises with mine. Needless to say he was hired on the spot and for a brief time we had the honor of performing with the best jews harp player west of the Mississippi, Bob.

Another truth is stranger than fiction adventure story. reg


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 12:47 PM

I have a rather vivid memory of purchasing my first "Jaw Harp". This was back in the 40's and I was around 12 years old at the time. Anyway, I walked into a music store and asked the proprietor it he had any Jew's Harps. I promptly received a five to ten minute lecture about the proper name for this instrument (actually it felt like an hour at the time). He told me that the Jewish people were quite offended when people refer to it as a "Jew's Harp".

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Lucius
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 01:10 PM

Cap't Bob. I've heard the same. Perhaps I should have been more direct in my previous posting.

I was raised in a Norwegian farming community. My father--who I believed was as free of pejudice as I--used to speak of "Jewing Down" salespeople, which was his way of negotiating a purchase. On entering the world, one of the things that I had to leave behind in my home town was this expression. Live and learn.

Lucius


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 02:29 PM

I had a lady friend one time who used to keep one of these in her bedside table drawer. She would NEVER explain why, but I had my suspicions!


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: reggie miles
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 02:33 PM

I don't belive that most people actually mean to express something negative when they refer to this thing as a jews harp. After all it was advertised and sold as such in many publications years ago when it first arrived here in the states. I am not defending the ignorance of those who use inflamtory language to incite anger or bitterness. I am merely saying that advertising is a powerful tool and that we humans can be slow to change. Consider the handtool the saw. It has been in existence for about 10,000 years but we've only been playing music on them for about the last 150 years. Do the math and you'll find it's taken us, mankind, in our infinite wisdom, 9,850 years to figure out that this thing could do something more than just cut wood. Granted the saw has not always been in the form we see it in today. Of course part of the reason for its musical capability is due to it's evolution into it's presnt day form. We tend to be a little slow when it comes to new or different ideas and ways of thinking but with persistence perhaps some day we'll catch on to ideas like world peace and the like as we did with the lowly saw. For the record I agree that jaw harp is without a doubt a better name to describe it. It has a harp shaped frame and is played using your jaw and mouth cavity.

reg


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 03:05 PM

Reggie ... spoken like a true musical artist! By the way, in case you don't know, Reggie is the BEST saw player I've ever known, and I've known several. Hi Reggie, Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 05:06 PM

Lucius, thanks for your note. It is amazing how many otherwise sophisticated and considerate people will use the phrase "jewing him down" without realizing its derogatory nature. Of course, many others (myself included), have used the phrase "to gyp", meaning to cheat, without realizing that it is also derogatory, deriving from "Gypsy." And that itself is an interesting word. My understanding is that "Gypsy" comes from "Egypt", based on the mistaken belief that the people had an African origin. In fact, I believe (and I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong) their name for themselves is "Roma", but I'm not exactly sure why. I think I once heard that they originated in India and migrated to Romania.

Creeping back to the original topic, I'm Jewish and I have no problem with "jew's harp", though I believe it is likely a corruption of "jaw harp". I think it's a fine and venerable instrument (that I can play a little bit!), and don't find anything derogatory or negative in the term.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Lucius
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 05:23 PM

Well said Reggie, and Mark.

Creaping away from the original topic, the term--gyp. I'm teaching Morris dancing to some young students, and the traditional terms for some of the moves are "half-gyp" and "Whole gyp". I've always assumed that these moves share the same entomology as Gypsy in contra dancing. Any enlightenment on this one ??


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 07:48 PM

I am noy saying this is a fact, I do not know, but I have heard that the term (Jew down) started with this.

When God told Abraham that He would destroy Sodom and Gomorroh (SP?), Abe asked God if He found fifty righteous men in the city, would He still destroy it. God said no. Then Abe asked "40". God said no.

Finally, Abraham got God down to 10 righteous men.

Abraham, the Father of the Jews, "Jewed" God down.

khandu (Creeping my own thread!)


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: reggie miles
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 08:13 PM

Bob, Deckman eh? You little dickens! I didn't know you hung out here! That's a very nice thing to say about my meager ability. Shucks I still think of myself as a hack on the saw. Ooh! sawry 'bout that! When's your next hoot?


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 08:26 PM

Lessee here........beards and moustaches grabbed, teeth chipped and broken, lips cut. Is this musical instrument or an instrument of torture? And all of this so we can get a twang sound................We be some kinda' sick puppies here.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Art Thieme
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 09:26 PM

Try this folks. I always loved this instrument. Did records with 'em several times...

www.jewsharpguild.org/index.html

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 09:29 PM

Maybe, khandu, but I think that story is folk etymology for something that was intended to be a slur.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 12:13 AM

I, not being Jewish, probably am not one to speak on this. However, in the context (the Abraham story), I do not consider "jewing down" a slur. It seems, in this case, to be an attribute that even God honors. Nothing wrong with someone trying to get the best deal possible.

There is an art to haggling. I wish I were more adept at it.

(Incidentally, I do not use the phrase "jew down".)

khandu


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Manitas
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 11:33 AM

The way I heard it was that the gyp movement was supposed to be a fighting movement, two people circling like fighters and Gypsies were renowned for fighting.

Incidentally, an acquaintance of mine is a British representative on the International Gypsy Council ( I think it's still called that although it represents other travellers)and she tells me that in addition to the Roma are the Sinti mainly in Germany.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 02:27 PM

Great thread. I had a Jew's harp once, and couldn't do a damned thing with it. Maybe I'll try again (muahahaha).

By the way, I'm one of those people who think that 'Jew's harp' was originally an anti-Semitic slur. A cheap little instrument, often shaped like a lyre. Seems obvious. But I can't see how anyone would be insulted by it, since it's such a swell instrument. ;)

I'm not sure why, but I am really bothered by 'jaw harp' and similar variations ('juice harp' is the worst) of the name. Those kind of sneaky PC reconstructions of words that make us feel guilty aren't needed when there are plenty of perfectly good replacement words out there. Call it a khomus or a maultrommel, or ANYTHING but a goddamned juice harp. :)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: reggie miles
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 05:16 PM

I've heard that juice harp derivation as well. I thought it was due to the fact that drool can often accompany the struggle to wrench sounds out of the little bugger.

I even have what may be an rare example of one of these with what appears to be a brass body. Unfortunately the reed has become dislodged from the frame and I don't know how to properly reattach it. Are there any repair gurus who can supply hints as to it's repair? I'm afraid I won't find anything if I search the yellow pages. It looks as though the metal in the frame is just smashed down onto the reed to hold it in place. I don't want to wreck it by attempting to do this the wrong way.

Thanks, reg


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 07:41 PM

In Mississippi, if you can't fix it with duct tape, WD40, or JB Weld, it ain't fixable! Oops! I left out clothes-hanger wire!

khandu


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 07:46 PM

I've always assumed that it's Jew's Harp because at some time it was either used in Jewish street music, or sold by Jewish street traders - and in both cases no slur would be implied.

The only derivation which would imply a slur would have been if the suggestion was that they were Jewish because they were cheap, and therefore associated with being mean. But if that were the case, why would the term have been restricted to the instruments, rather than transferred to cheap harmonicas, which are also called mouth harps? And I've never heard anyone call a harmonica a Jew's Harp.

So there's no need for anyone to get into a paddy about it...


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 08:52 PM

But why would we be going into a rice field to play a juicy harp?


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Blackcatter
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 12:29 AM

greetings all,

Everything I have ever heard from etymologists is that there is no clear or even fuzzy reason it is called a jew's harp. It just appears in various publications - sorry I don't happen to have the Oxford Enlish Dictionary with me, my girlfriend's got it - several hundred yeas ago.

The other terms - jaw and juice appear later and are considered "retro" derivations, basically people trying to explain away the term jew's. There is no evidence that it is a derogatory term. It is likely to be a coincidence of three letters. Possible a regional term that somehow became the accepted general term. If you don't think that can happen, check out a list of the words Shakespeare either invented or borrowed from friends around Stratford.

There is political correctness and then there is political correctness. The Jew's Harp Guild and presumably its members do not have a problem with the term. One ould hope the organization isn't anti-semetic. check out www.jewsharpguild.org

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,Fred
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 01:13 AM

Well, my old Oxford says that the term dates back to 1584 and was a variation on Jew's Trump, which term dates back to 1545. In Scotland and the north of England it was just called Trump, which also agreed with the French term trompe. It also says that the "Jew's" part of the term was always there but only in English. There is nothing about why or how the Jew's term got appended.

Oh, well. Twang away and to heck with the name of it!


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 01:50 AM

Obviously (to me) it was called jews harp because the instrument is played by people all over the world -- people representing EVERY COLOR ON THE PLANET. They could not, very easily anyway, call the thing the colored guy's harp without the cry of total racism being raised everywhere.--- So they settled on calling it jews harp after those folks over there. Remember, them that called it that had no idea that the Hollocaust was gonna happen. Nobody did. But when those sad events did occur, alas, there were none of the guys from the 1500s who named the thing to take back their inapropriate nomenclature. It's nobody's fault.

But just try to tell that logic to Oedipus...

Can't be done.
(And, yes, I'm Jewish. At least half o' me is.)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 07:49 AM

A lot more portable than a didgeridoo anyway.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Noreen
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 09:28 AM

LOL, McGrath: So there's no need for anyone to get into a paddy about it...

My (English) grandmother used to say that we as children were 'getting into a paddy' over something, until my (Irish) father asked her why she didn't call it " getting into a George".

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,John Hill
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:47 AM

I always understood that the name foe these things was a Jaws Harp and that the name "Jews Harp" was just a corruption in sound. I cant say I find these things very pleasant to listen to. I've had a go at it in the past but it wasn't for me. I've heard them played very badly too... where all the notes sound the same and its hard to tell what the tune is.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:26 PM

Funny, I've heard the same thing said about a bodhran.

Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,luke
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 01:53 PM

how do you clean the spit off?


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: Blackcatter
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 05:00 PM

I use alcohol wipes. Gotta keep them dry when not being played. I wipe them off on my pants or sleeve when I finish playing them duringing a session and when I get home I pull out the alcohol wipes to get all the stuff off of them. That keeps the rust away (and germs too).

I keep mine in a zippered binder in slits cut into 2 inch cushion foam.


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Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
From: GUEST,Van
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 05:38 AM

You have to breathe through them rather than blow. I couldn't describe how you get the notes but you do. Move your mouth about a bit, shift your tongue, blow out your cheeks, you'll get it eventually. Strangely some Italian friends of mine gave me a Jew's harp which was the best I've ever had. When my first wife left me she took it with her. She was a pianist. Never could figure. Maybe she didn't want me to inflict on some one else?


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