Foreign harps

The Leipzig harp


Dated to the 16th century

Kept at the Museum für Musikinstrumente, Leipzig, Germany

"Gothic" design;
25 strings, longest 76.5cm.

This instrument is of the typical Continental 'Gothic' form with gut strings and buzzing bray pins.

The wood is reported by the Museum to be walnut. The soundbox is constructed in two halves glued together like a clamshell. The curious double-peaked profile is produced by a small piece of wood fixed into the joint between the neck and the pillar, which may well not be original.

You can buy a technical report and full-size plans from the Museum shop.

The Museum shop also offers similar drawings of harps from Freiberg Cathedral, though I don not believe these are working instruments - I suspect they are stage props, possibly incorporating some genuine parts such as the soundboxes.

Simon Chadwick