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'Biblical' tuning for harp?

GUEST,Bo in KY 05 Jan 05 - 01:58 AM
Wilfried Schaum 05 Jan 05 - 03:19 AM
Wilfried Schaum 05 Jan 05 - 04:28 AM
GUEST 05 Jan 05 - 09:43 PM
John P 06 Jan 05 - 08:41 PM
Peace 06 Jan 05 - 09:01 PM
mack/misophist 07 Jan 05 - 12:26 AM
Wilfried Schaum 07 Jan 05 - 01:35 AM
Peace 08 Jan 05 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Bev Jo 03 Dec 15 - 04:44 PM
Jack Campin 03 Dec 15 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Dec 15 - 11:00 AM
Les in Chorlton 04 Dec 15 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,# 04 Dec 15 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Dec 15 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,julia L 04 Dec 15 - 10:36 PM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Dec 15 - 11:20 AM
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Subject: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: GUEST,Bo in KY
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 01:58 AM

I received a King David's harp or "Kinnor" for Christmas - roughly a figure-8 shaped instrument, open at top and enclosed wooden sound box (with small sound-hole) at bottom, with 10 strings running vertically across the 8. It has a wonderful (if quiet) sound, and I have just begun plunking around on it. Question is - how to tune the thing?

After casting around the internet for awhile, I stumbled across a few tunings, and reference to a "Biblical" 10-note scale. Anybody know which notes might have been included in the harps/psalterys mentioned in the Psalms? Obviously they were not notated in a Western manner, but I'm sure some historians have pieced together an idea of the scale from existing ancient Middle Eastern tunes, etc.

Any leads?


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 03:19 AM

http://www.allegretto-online.de/kinnor.html (german):
Die 10 Saiten sind diatonisch getimmt : g –d = the 10 strings are tuned diatonic : g-d

http://www.harpanddragon.com/kinnornevel.htm:
You can tune the strings in any key you like, although a possible ancient tuning is offered on the accompanying sheet.

http://larkinthemorning.com/product.asp?pn=HAR182&Kinnor+Lyre+Harp=&bhcd2=1104912086 and others:
This lyre uses the biblical scale of ten notes that was common to the instrument during the time of King David.

http://www.harpsales.com/learnkinnor.html:
High End: Eb,D,C,Bb,G#,G,F,Eb,D,C,Bb,G#. For 12 strings
               Eb,D,C,Bb,G#,G,F,Eb,D,C.             For 10 strings

http://www.harpspectrum.org/historical/wheeler_short.shtml:
A B C D (E) F G A B C (kinnor)
I strongly recommend this article; it seems the most erudite and exhaustive one in the web.

Play and enjoy
Wilfried


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 04:28 AM

A further research in all Encyclopaedias of Music in our University Library brought no results, alas. There are only discussions about the history of the instrument.

Sorry
Wilfried


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 09:43 PM

Thanky, Wilfried - the last article was helpful. The instrument in the German article is what I would call a "Psaltery" and looks nothing like the instrument I have in hand. The article from Lark in the Morning (which is where my Kinnor came from) is what got me started on this goose chase.

And I'm still left wondering - which is the most historically accurate? C - Eb? A - C? And 10 strings, tuned diatonically, would give "g - b", not "g - d" by my reckoning. But I could be wrong. There must be a book somewhere that discusses Biblical musical theory.

Still pondering ... but thanks again for the research help!!

Bo


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: John P
Date: 06 Jan 05 - 08:41 PM

As far as I know, there is no actual knowledge about what instruments in biblical times looked like, how they were tuned, or what kind of music was played on them. Do we have any pictures, any carvings, anything at all from the reign of King David? Do we have any written music, or even any descriptions of music from the time? Really, when was King David alive? I think anyone who claims to be an authority with answers is sort of making them up as they go along, which means you could too.

JP


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: Peace
Date: 06 Jan 05 - 09:01 PM

One might look at 'Eqyptian' sites for pictures of the instrument (I'm thinking about pyramids and tombs, etc), and I think maybe e-mailing

www.museum.upenn.edu/Canaan/

could help.

Last thing that comes to mind:

www.tau.ac.il/humanities/archaeology/

Nothin' to lose by trying.

BM


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 07 Jan 05 - 12:26 AM

Some years ago, Smithsonian reviewed a cd from an archeologist who asked the same question about the Babylonian harp. After comparing several thousand pictures and reading every description of the sound he could find, he decided it was tuned in C maj. Similar languages, known cultural interaction, maybe C maj is what you need.


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 07 Jan 05 - 01:35 AM

Somewhere in the articles I cited above a Jewish coin is referred to with a picture of the kinnor.

W


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: Peace
Date: 08 Jan 05 - 04:42 PM

Picture is on this site:

Google

KING DAVID

or

www.woodsong.co.il/product-3.html


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: GUEST,Bev Jo
Date: 03 Dec 15 - 04:44 PM

I just got off a John Pratt web site. I googled John Pratt Lyre Images and then clicked on the picture. He has an awesome explanation of tuning they lyre in a unique way. I am excited to try it.


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Dec 15 - 05:40 PM

We know a fair bit about Sumerian music, since they were were writing about it long before any of the Bible was written. The scholar who has done most to decode the tablets is Anne Kilmer. Here she is, talking about a Sumerian beer song rather than harp tuning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHN7AHShcM0

It seems quite likely that the Semitic peoples took over the same tricks with the harp that the Sumerians had pioneered.

And from what she says, it looks like you could plonk a Sumerian musician down in an English folk-and-real-ale event and they'd be right at home.


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Dec 15 - 11:00 AM

Bo, I have read a lot of music history, and I have never seen anything definite on tunings as far back as Old Testament times. You are never going to get a good answer on ancient tunings.

The best thing for you to do is to find out what tuning(s) the harp maker had in mind. The instrument will sound its best when tuned to resonate within itself. I learned this as a beginning guitarist. In my amateur efforts, I gradually made the strings way too high. When I bought an electronic tuner and brought it down to where it belonged, it was suddenly much louder and warmer in tone.

The tuning given above (Eb,D,C,Bb,G#,G,F,Eb,D,C) is merely the E-flat major scale going down. The is a common tuning for lever harps today.

Even if you could find some strange tuning from the time of King David (1000 BC) what songs could you play on it? It's disappointing to think of new song you'd like to play, then find that you can't because a note is missing. I think the best thing you could do is to tune it to a major scale which resonates with the instrument. Or it could be a minor scale, depending on what the maker had in mind.


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Dec 15 - 11:07 AM

Is it worth mentioning that them old books are not actually full of informational facts?


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 04 Dec 15 - 12:04 PM

http://ancientlyre.com/blogs/ancient_tuning_methods/

That link may help.


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Dec 15 - 07:45 PM

Don't get discouraged, Bo, because even in King David's time there was clearly room for variation in music. We know that because 250 years after David the prophet Amos sneered in this way:

Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory,
    and lounge on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock,
    and calves from the stall;
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
    and like David improvise on instruments of music.

You see what I mean? If David could improvise, so can you.


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 04 Dec 15 - 10:36 PM

So what was Amos's problem anyway? Was he paper trained or something?
(hee hee) julia


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Subject: RE: 'Biblical' tuning for harp?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 11:20 AM

Oops! Now I see that the original post was from 2005. Too bad.


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