Foreign harps

The Boston harp


Dated to c.1700

Kept at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA.

"Baroque German" design;
32 strings, 130.8cm high

This instrument, contemporary with the Downhill, shows the distinctive German type of instrument. This instrument has gut strings and very large buzzing bray pins to produce a growling, nasal, buzzing tone. Note that on the MFA web site description the sound clip, played on a replica, has the bray pins carefully disengaged so as to make a pleasant modern sound rather than the strident tone of the original! Note the 8 bass strings with a separate scaling, perhaps for a change in string density (overwound strings) or alternatively for a change in bass tone for the lowest octave.
Plans and technical drawings are available from the MFA.

Simon Chadwick