Friday, June 4, 2010

Play that music!

Hey folks,Today's artifact from our excavations at the Burch House is thought to be one of the oldest types of musical instruments in the world. The Mouth Harp, as it is commonly known, is a simple metal frame with a flexible reed in the center. This reed can be made from materials such as metal or bamboo, though our harp is missing this piece. This instrument is sometimes called a "Jew Harp," though this is misleading as the instrument has no particular connection to Judaism or Jewish people, and this particular name may stem from "Jaw Harp," as a player uses his or her jaw and mouth to adjust the volume of the notes created by the instrument. Other names for this nifty little instrument are mouth harp, juice harp, and Ozark harp.

It is likely that this instrument originated in Asia, where it is still played by many people. While a player adjusts his mouth to change the volume, he will pluck the reed, which rests against the tongue, with his finger to produce a note. Changing the sound the instrument produces has a great deal to do with altering the shape of one's mouth and throat, as well as one's breathing...the whole process sounds pretty tough to me!

Have a great weekend everyone! We will keep you posted on our next day of digging at the Burch House.

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