Mixdown Monthly Beat Magazine


Jew's Harp

At the Dawn of the New Millennium – Part 1


The etymology behind the generic term Jew's harp for a mouth-resonated instrument that is either bow-shaped in construction, or alternatively a lamellate variant remains an enigma, because the association with the Jewish people has never coincided with its common nomenclature. According to Gordon Frazier in The Jew's Harp Guild Home Page, "In brief: The earliest known written citation of Jew's harp was in 1595, in England. Prior to that it was called Jew's trump (earliest spelling: jewes trump). Before that it was known as trump in Scotland and Northern Ireland; the origin of the 'jewes' preceder is obscure. However, there is no indication that the origin was connected with Judaism or the Jewish people. It probably came from some other word - one possibly is the Old English word gewgaw - and was then, many years later, 'fixed', resulting in the current form."


Its classification is also somewhat nebulous according to Leonard Fox in The Jew's Harp: A Comprehensive Anthology, since Curt Sachs has named it a plucked idiophone or "an instrument which produces sounds due to the rigidity and elasticity of the material from which it is made, without the need for strings or a stretched membrane," while later scholars Frederick Crane and Ole Kai Ledang have opted for an earlier notion proposed by seventeenth-century musicologist Marin Mersenne. His is an ideology that subscribes to the classification of the Jew's harp as an aerophone, emphasizing that "full functioning of the instrument occurs only when a stream of air moves past its tongue."

In his published writings of 1917 titled Die Maultrommel: eine typologische Vorstudie, Curt Sachs denotes the type of frame employed as the main differentiating characteristic of the Jew's harp, and further categorizes the instrument by establishing whether it is idioglot or heteroglot, hence either having a tongue that is cut into the frame or alternatively, one that is attached to it. Leonard Fox however points out that the classificatory system of Geneviève Dournon-Taurelle and John Wright in their collaboration of Les guimbardes du Musée de l'Homme, although simpler in nature, provides a more sound solution, especially in view of the fact that Curt Sachs' scheme excludes bone, horn and mammoth ivory materials utilized in the idioglot Jew's harps of the native peoples of Siberia, Mongolia, and of the Eskimo.

Typology and Construction

The system proposed by Dournon-Taurelle and Wright is based on "whether the tongue of the instrument is enclosed within the frame or not", and firstly, presents the lamellate Jew's harp, generally consisting of a thin wooden, bamboo, bone, ivory, horn or metal plate that is eight to thirty-five centimetres in length. "In the idioglot type, the tongue is cut lengthwise into the centre of the plate and a string is sometimes attached to its base or to the base of the of the frame: by pulling the string, the player places the tongue in vibration," notes Leonard Fox with regards to its construction. It should be added that to assist this process of pulling the string, a small thorn or wooden tenon is usually tied to the end of the tongue.

Furthermore, some lamellate Jew's harps, namely ones played by the Nepalese and the Lisu people of China, have two or more tongues, and because this type is generally softer in volume, numerous methods of resonation have been devised around the globe, such as the use of a bamboo tube, utilized by the Buang of New Guinea and the Javanese, and the tebeng (small fan) of the Balinese genggong (Jew's harp) that is placed behind the instrument for the purpose of enhancing the sound.

On the other hand, "The bow-shaped Jew's harp is traditionally made of forged iron, although the cheaper modern instruments are either cast or, more usually, machine-formed from iron, aluminum, or alloy wire, " explains Leonard Fox. The frames are also sometimes made of materials such as copper, brass, silver and gold, although more commonly, the hammered or riveted-to-the-frame tongue in made of tempered steel, with the exception of the Southeast Asian region, where brass is utilized.

These Jew's harps range in size from five to fifteen centimetres in length, with varieties from the Indian sub-continent often employing a tongue exceeding the length of the frame. Resonators for this type include an axe-head, as used in the Soviet Union, and in the United States, the Jewsaphone, which was invented in the 1930s. This instrument is essentially a regular Jew's harp soldered onto a megaphone.

Geographic Distribution

The Jew's harp is native to many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Australia excluded, and apart from its Eskimo tradition, there is no evidence to suggest that the instrument ever existed in the Americas pre-colonization, or in Africa, before its establishment as a staple European trade item. With regards to the region encompassing the former Soviet Union, it is found throughout its boundaries, except for the Caucasus and Karelia. In Europe, the only Jew's harp with historical links to the continent is the bow-shaped metal type, whereas bamboo and wooden lamellate types are found in the Pacific, in Southeast Asia, and in China, with the metal variety less prevalent in these regions. In northern and central Asia, as well as the Indian subcontinent, both lamellate and bow-shaped Jew's harps coexist. "In Siberia, for example, the Evenks have a bow-shaped metal instrument and a wooden lamellate one; the Udegei have a bow-shaped metal Jew's harp and a lamellate metal type; and the Nivkhs have three kinds - a bow-shaped iron instrument, a wooden lamellate one, and a copper lamellate one. Among some of these people, the bow-shaped type was used exclusively or primarily as a shamanist instrument, while the lamellate type was played in social contexts. Among the Montagnard peoples of Laos and Vietnam, an unusual type of Jew's harp was developed, some examples which have wooden frames and metal tongues; others are completely metal throughout, but in both cases, the tongue of the instrument, instead of being fixed or riveted at the base of the frame, is held in place by means of a fairly wide metal band," explains Leonard Fox.

History and Musical Function

It is supposed that the lamellate variety is older in chronological terms, although due to the nature of the decomposing materials utilized in their construction, it is impossible to confirm this very fact. In Europe, bronze instruments from the Gallo-Roman period represent the oldest recorded discoveries, and because of their resemblance to modern Indian, Nepalese and Afghani designs, Curt Sachs proposed that the Asian type of bow-shaped Jew's harp was the direct descendant of the European. As far as its social standing, there is strong evidence to suggest that during the Middle Ages, the Jew's harp was not merely "an instrument among fools and beggars," as widely believed, with a late medieval painting of the Virgin and Child depicting three angels, one playing a Jew's harp, one a tromba marina, and one a fiddle, strongly suggesting that a certain level of artistic respectability existed at the time. Some time later, in nineteenth-century Austria, silver Jew's harps were a popular serenading instrument among eligible young bachelors. "So popular was the custom and so discreet and persuasive the sound of the guimbarde (maultrommel) that female virtue was endangered and instruments were repeatedly banned by the authorities," write Anthony Baines in Musical Instruments Through the Ages. This phenomenon is not reserved to European culture, because the use of the instrument in courting practices has also been observed in places such as Siberia, China, Cambodian, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Zealand and New Guinea, with several traditions in existence that use the Jew's harp during actual conversation. Apart from its musical representation, the Jew's harp was also employed therapeutically in nineteenth century Europe. This is common practice in the East, where it is used "both to induce trance and to heal the sick".

In cultures such as those belonging to the Siberian and Mongolian peoples, the instrument has associations with shamanism, as its use forms part of the shaman's common practice of incantations. In the Malaysian rainforest, the Temiar possess a gengon (Jew's harp) that is either of metal or palm construction, but this is an art form exclusively reserved for men. "This mouthharp goes back to the origins of we forest people. We play it for entertainment, or if our hearts are lovesick, homesick, melancholy, then we make it better, as it was during peaceful times; we clear our hearts," tells performer Penghulu Senang A/L Long prior to his rendition of a song dedicated to the Biray bird (Dream Songs and Healing Sounds in the Rainforests of Malaysia, Smithsonian/Folkways). While nearby, in the Bosavi rainforest of Papua New Guinea, the Kaluli people refer to their Jew's harp as uluna. This is an instrument measuring eighteen centimetres and is constructed out of a single piece of bamboo, with its two long slits forming a tongue. In this solo setting, men improvise alongside forest sounds, such as cicadas and birds to create the characteristic 'lift-up-over-sounding' aspect of Bosavi musical aesthetics.

In striking contrast, on the Indonesian island of Bali, as well as being a solo instrument, the Jew's harp has a place in the Gamelan Genggong. For example, the Genggong Ensemble of Ubud featured on the composition Tabuh tely (Bali: Folk Music / Musique populaire, Auvidis-Unesco) employs nine genggong (bamboo Jew's harps), a suling (end-blown bamboo ring flute), two guntang (bamboo percussion vessels), a kendang (double-headed drum) and cengceng (cymbals). In this large musical setting for collective entertainment, the Jew's harps are essentially treated in the same manner as regular Gamelan instruments, with two groups of players performing in alternation, supporting the melodic line of the suling, and a third performing an interlocking pattern.

For further information on the Jew's harp see Leonard Fox, The Jew's Harp: A Comprehensive Anthology (London: Bucknell U Press, 1988); or take a cyber tour on The Jew's Harp Guild Home Page, and The Dutch Jew's Harp Page.


The second part of this article was published in Mixdown Monthly issue #69, January 2000. In this article, discussed are playing techniques, repertoire and the Jew's harp at the dawn of the new millennium..

'Mixdown' Monthly ~ Issue #68, December 1, 1999


All rights reserved. All text, graphics and sound files on this page are copyrighted.
Unauthorized reproduction and copying of this page is prohibited by law. Copyright © 1999 by Andrián Pertout.

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The Jew’s Harp

Jew's Harps of the World

At the Dawn of the New Millennium – Part 2

Playing Techniques

In general terms, the method of playing the Jew’s harp involves vibrating the instrument’s tongue with a plucking, striking or traction action.  Bow-shaped Jew’s harps are plucked with a finger of either hand, but usually with the forefinger of the opposite hand that is holding the instrument, whereas with lamellate types, the plucking action is reserved for either the extension of the tongue or the end of the frame.  In some New Guinea varieties, while performing all the actions with one hand, the tongue is struck against the wrist of the other hand, while some Javanese varieties demonstrate the methodology of striking the end of the frame with a finger of the other hand.  Lamellate Jew’s harps that employ a string attached to the base of the tongue or to the base of actual frame utilize traction.  This method is popular throughout the Indonesian archipelago, India, Nepal, Burma, Tibet, China, and is additionally employed by the Siberian peoples, the Ainu of northern Japan, and the Eskimo.

The correct playing technique for the bow-shaped metal Jew’s harp traditions of Western Europe and the Americas requires holding the instrument with the left hand (for a right-handed person), with the thumb at the left centre extreme of the frame, and index and middle fingers at the topmost part.  Then, by placing the frame arms against the front teeth, which should be slightly apart, and with the lips wrapped around the frame arms, but without interrupting the movement of tongue of the instrument, the characteristic sounds of the instrument are produced by a combination of breathing, plucking the tongue and by changing the size of the oral cavity.  “Essentially, the technique involved in the last is the same as whistling: the more volume permitted to the oral cavity, the lower the note produced, the less volume, the higher the note,” states Leonard Fox in The Jew's Harp: A Comprehensive Anthology.

Every instrument, as well as producing the fundamental tone is also able to distinctly produce the third, fifth, seventh, octave, ninth and tenth harmonic, with larger instruments, the twelfth, and some, the fifteenth and seventeenth.  According to Anthony Baines in The Oxford Companion to Musical Instruments, “The acoustics of the action have been much debated.  The vibrating blade in itself can theoretically produce partials only at non-harmonic ‘clamped bar’ frequencies high above the fundamental by at least two octaves.”

Speech sounds can be additionally used to alter timber, with more advanced playing techniques utilized around the globe involving special tonguings to produce staccato and trill effects, and strong and weak breathing to alter timbre.  In his article How to Play a Steel Jew’s Harp published on The Jew’s Harp Guild Home Page, instrument inventor and Jew’s harpist Wayland Harman suggests the following preliminary exercises, “While playing, the formation of letter shapes become your notes.  Try mouthing the vowels while playing.  Now try exaggerating those shapes.  Make the ‘E’ as close to the front of your mouth as you can.  Make your ‘O’ sound as big as you can.  Play with the ‘A’ – going between hard ‘A’ and soft ‘A’.  Some good consonant shapes to work on are D, G, K, L and T.”  Using the diaphragm as the principal bellows, different pressures can be applied to exhaling, altering the timbre, exhaling and inhaling in a start/stop pattern to produce a closed throat sound, as well as alternating between inhaling and exhaling to produce vibrato effects.  The mouth can additionally be utilized as the secondary bellows, producing yet another sound, and while the tongue is the primary means of pitch alterations, the throat can be alternatively employed.  With regards to tuning, a special technique of “raising the back of the tongue to the soft palate” is sometimes employed.  In Romania, Jew’s harps may even be fitted with tuning slides, while in other parts of the globe, a common method of altering the fundamental tone of the instrument is placing small balls of sealing wax or shellac on the tip of the tongue.

An interesting playing technique utilized in South Indian Carnatic music involves spelling syllables through the Jew’s harp, in the form such as taka taka taka tam, utilizing the highly developed rhythmic constructs of Konnakol (a percussive vocal technique) and mridangam (double-headed barrel drum) rhythmic patterns (the mridangam being an instrument generally acknowledged as the “king of the percussion instruments of South India”).  “The syllables are spoken through the tongue,” explains morsing maestro Srirangam S. Kannan.  “But you have to say them without producing sound,” adds virtuoso mridangamist Karaikudi R. Mani.  The different sounds employed include a normal tone, one involving sucking the air, the another, blowing the air.


Jew’s harps were introduced to the European recital room circa 1750, and by Johann Heinrich Hörmann in his compositional setting of Partita in C, where the instrument is accompanied by two recorders, four violins (two muted and the other two playing pizzicato) and continuo.  The period around the eighteenth century represents the golden age of the Jew’s harp in Europe, with virtuoso performers that include the Benedictine monk Father Bruno Glatzl, and Franz Koch, who was ultimately immortalized in the writings of Jean-Paul Richter.  After hearing Heinrich Scheibler, virtuoso Jews harpist and inventor of the Aura, in Dusseldorf in 1821, poet Hofmann von Fallersleben remembers the event with the following words, “His wonderful playing on the mouth-harmonica has remained unforgettable for me.  These were tones which resounded from another world, like a secret magic which penetrated deep into the soul.”  “Due to the fact that only an incomplete scale is obtainable on any Jew’s harp, it becomes necessary to add a second instrument pitched a fourth lower if a diatonic scale is desired, so that performers employed simultaneously two or more Jew’s harps of different fundamental pitches.  Such a combination was the Aura of Johann Heinrich Scheibler, de-signed in 1816; he combined ten of differing pitches into two groups of five each on frames provided with handles – he called them holders – one group held in each hand; later he apparently combined up to twenty in circular fashion, with their lamellae radiating all around. They were fine tuned by having sealing wax placed on the tip of the tongue,” writes Sibyl Marcuse in A Survey of Musical Instruments.

This social trend continued, and was perhaps brought to a climax in 1834 with the work of Karl Eulenstein, who is today considered the greatest of all the European Jew’s harp virtuosi.  He played with two instruments simultaneously, and during a performance would utilize a complete range of sixteen tuned instruments.

In South Indian Carnatic music there is also a notable Jew’s harp tradition, and is highlighted within a percussion setting known as Thani Avartanam or percussion interlude, where the mridangam has the role as the principal percussion instrument, and side accompaniments include the kanjira (frame drum), ghatam (claypot) and morsing (Jew’s harp).  Morsing maestro Srirangam S. Kannan explains the nature of his instrument, ”I learnt this art from mridangamists Kanadukathan Rajaram and Pudukottai Mahadevan, and after being trained rigorously under Karaikudi R. Mani, I am know able to play morsing in a different style.  And morsing is basically a lyre instrument, a Jew’s harp, and it not an Indian instrument, it comes from Greece.”  According to virtuoso mridangamistKaraikudi R. Mani, the Jew’s harp has only been a part of the South Indian Carnatic tradition for sixty to seventy years.

In the north of the country, the morchang (Jew’s harp) of Rajasthan is performed by men belonging to the snake-charmer communities, as well as by some professional musicians, and in this region the instrument has no particular repertoire.  Performances are created within improvisations, which are generally based on popular songs.

The Jew’s Harp at the Dawn of the New Millennium

The folk revival of the last twenty-five years has given the Jew’s harp a new lease of life in Europe.  “Nowadays, the Jew's harp appears more and more in electronic pop, avant-garde, jazz and world music,” says Henk Postma.  “The overtones of the tiny instrument even shimmer in techno beat dance halls.  Specialists from all over the world give new life to the instrument and explore the rich possibilities, all in the varied background of different cultures.  Last summer, a main group of nearly a hundred Jew's harp specialists gathered in the Austrian village of Molln, where the Third World Congress and Festival for the Jew's harp was held.  There, you could have met all type of players, investigators, ethnomusicologists, publicists, etcetera, from Japan, the Siberian Republics, Kirgizia, Tuva, Altai-region, USA and European countries such as Austria, Germany, Norway, Holland, Finland, Hungary and Switzerland.”

The Jew’s harp, in the words of ethnomusicologist, instrumentalist, teacher, composer, lecturer, researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research, specialist in diphonic singing, expert at spoon playing and Jew’s harp virtuoso, Trân Quang Haï, “has been played by shepherds and by virtuosos (Yvan Alexeyev, Spiridon Shishigin).  It has been used in the field of electro-acoustic research (John Wright, Trân Quang Haï) and has been studied by ethnomusicologists (Geneviève Dournon, Hubert Boone, Frederic Crane, Leo Tadagawa) and acousticians (Emile Leipp).  It is one of the most original of the world’s instruments.”

For further information on the Jew's harp see Leonard Fox, The Jew's Harp: A Comprehensive Anthology (London: Bucknell U Press, 1988); or take a cyber tour on The Jew's Harp Guild Home Page, and The Dutch Jew's Harp Page.


The first part of this article was published in Mixdown Monthly issue #68, December 1999. In this article, discussed are etymology, classification, typology and construction, geographic distribution, as well as history and musical fuction..

'Mixdown' Monthly ~ Issue #69, January 1, 2000


All rights reserved. All text, graphics and sound files on this page are copyrighted.
Unauthorized reproduction and copying of this page is prohibited by law. Copyright © 2000 by Andrián Pertout.

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Geo-Linguistic Survey of Terms for the Jew’s Harp

This list includes all the terms entered in the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (1984) and those in Dournon-Taurelle and Wright’s Les guimbardes du Musèe de l’Homme (1878), as well as many not found in either work.


Albania: vegël tringulluese
Basque: trompa, modu-gitarra, muxu-gitarra, mosu-musika
Byelorussian: drymba
Czech: brumle, drnkaäka
Danish: mundharpe
Dutch: mondtrom
English: Jew’s harp, Jew’s trump, jawharp, jaw’s harp, juice harp
Estonian: parmupill (“bumble-bee instrument”), konnapill (“frog instrument”), suupill (“lip-instrument”)
Finnish: munniharppu,
turpajurra (“impossible to translate”), märistysrauta (something like “trembling iron”), huulipeli (“lip-instrument”), suupeli (“mouth-instrument”), suuharppu (“mouth harp”), mörinärauta (“growl iron”), möristysrauta (“growling iron”), juutalaisharppu (“jew harp”), juutalaisen harppu (“jew's harp”), taavetin harppu (“David's harp”), pussipeli (“bag-instrument”) *Compiled with the assistance of Jarno Miettinen (President of the Finnish Jew's Harp Association)
Flemish: tromp
French: guimbarde; Switzer
land: bombarde, rebaîrbe (North Jura), rbiba (South Jura), rbaîrbe (Freiberge)
German: maultrommel, mundharmonika (elegant nineteenth century term); Switzerland: trümmi (Lucerne), trimpi, trimmi (Uri), muultrummle (Bern), tremolo (Bosco-Gurin)
Hungarian: doromb
Icelandic: munnharpa
Irish: trumpadh
Italian: scacciapensieri, ribeba; Sicilian: marranzanu, gnagnararrone; Switzerland: zanforgna, cinforgna, zinforgna
Latvian: vargas
Lithuanian: bandírälis, bandurka, šeivale
Norwegian: munnharpa, munnspill
Portugese: berimbau
Romanian: drîmba, drîmboaie, drîmb, drînd, drîndä, drîng
Romansch: timpan, suna da bucca, trumbla, tschinforgna, schanforgna
Russian: vargan
Sardinian: sa trunfa
Scottish Gaelic: tromp
Serbian: drombulja, drombulje, drimbolj
Spanish: birimbao, guimbarda
Swedish: mungiga
Ukrainian: drymba, drumlya, doromba, organ, vargan, vigran
Welsh: ysturmant (North Wales), biwba (South Wales), biwbo, giwga, giwgan
Wendish: brumladeo


Afghanistan: chang-ko’uz (Mzbek people)
Altay: temir-komus, komos, kobys-tyunyur
Bashkir: kubyz, kumyz; wooden lamellate type: agach-kumyz, agach-kubyz; metal bow-shaped type: timer-kumyz, temir-kubyz
Buryat: khur, khuur
Burma: ata (Lahu people); rab ncas (Hmong people)
Cambodia: angkuoc
China: huang, koqin; k’api (Lutseu people): tivtiv (Ami subculture, Taiwan)
Chukchi: vanni-yayar (“tooth-tambourine”)
Chuvash: varam-tuma (“gnat”), palnay, jupas, varkhan
Even: kunkon
Evenk: wooden lamellate type: panar, purgip-kavun; metal bow-shaped type: kengipkevun, kongipkavun, pangipkavun
India: generally distributed terms: murchang, morchang, muchang, munchang, mursang; mursing, morsing (Tamil Nadu); gagana (Garo people, Assam); ghoraliyau (Rajasthan); tendor (Madhya Pradesh); ka-mien (Khasi people, Assam, and Meghalay)
Indonesia: genggong; rinding (Java), karinding (Baduj people, West Java): gogo (Gayo area, Sumatra); popo (Acheh region, Sumatra); druri bewe (southern Nias), duri (northern Nias); ego, genggo, robe (Flores); juring (Krui area, Sumatra); saga-saga (Pakpak Dairi region, northern Sumatra); karombi (Sa’dan Toraja area, South Sulawesi); oli (Minahasa, North Sulawesi); nago oa, keit besi, nago besi (Timor)
Iran: zamburak
Japan: mukkuri (Hokkaido Ainu), mukkuna (Sakhalin Ainu)
Kazakh: komyz, temir-komyz
Ket: pymel’
Khakass: temir-komys
Khantsi: tumra, tomra
Kirghiz: wooden lamellate type: komuz; metal bow-shaped type: temir-komuz
Koryak: vanni-yayay (“tooth-tambourine”)
Laos: hun, toi
Malaysia: bungkau, turiding (Sabah); gurudeng (Iban people, Sarawak); junggotan (Bedayah people, South Sarawak); juring rangguin (Temiar people, West Malaysia): rangoyd (Lanoh tribe, West Malaysia); rangun (Juhai tribe, West  Malaysia); jyrin (Sakai people, Malacca, Kelantan) Mansi: tumran, suup-tumran
Man: kovyzh, komyzh, kabas, umsha-kovyzh
Mongolia: aman khuur, aman tobshuur; Dörböt tribe, western Mongolia: bamboo, horn, bone, or wooden lamellate type: khulsan khuur; iron bow-shaped type: temür khuur, tömör khuur
Nanay: metal lamellate type: kunkha; metal bow-shaped type: myny
Negidal: konkikhi
Nenets: vyvko (“buzzer”)
Nepal: bamboo lamellate type: binaiyo; kha-wang (metal bow-shaped type, Thakahi people); machinga, changu (Sunuwar people); machunga (Rai people); kom-i (Limbu people); gon-kap (Tamang people)
Nivkh: wooden or copper lamellate type: kanga; iron bow-shaped type: vych ranga
Oroch: kunkan
Orok: kunga
Pakistan: chang, morchang
Philippines: kubing (southern Philippines); abafiw, alibaw, olat, onat (Bontoc people, northern Philippines); afiw (northern Philippines); biqqung, guyud (Ifugao people); giwong, onat, ulibao, ulibaw (Kalinga people); ko-ding (Ibaloy people); kulibao
(Negrito people); ori-bao (Isneg people) Sel’kup: pynyr (“hummer”), al’ pynyr (“mouth hummer”); wooden lamellate type: pol’
pynyr; metal bow-shaped type: kezyl pynyr
Tajik: chang-kobuz, temir-chang, changi zanona
Tatar: kubyz
Thailand: hoen-toong
Tibet: kha-rnga (“mouth-drum”, cf. German Maultrommel)
Turkey: aêiz tamburasi
Turkmen: kobyz
Tuvinian: wooden lamellate type: yash-khomus; bamboo or reed lamellate type: kuluzun-khomus; metal bow-shaped type: temir-khomus
Udegey: metal lamellate and metal bow-shaped types: kongkoy
Ul’chi: panga
Uzbek: chang-kobuz, chang-kavuz, temir-chang
Vietnam: çàn môi; nggoec, tong (Mnong people); kong kle, kon hle, rhnui (Sedang people); göch (Rhade people); roding (Jorai people); toung {Koho, Sre, and Maa peoples); then (Bahnar people); guat (Roglai people); pang teu ing (Muong people)
Yakut: khomus


Cook Islands: pokakakaka; titapu (Rarotonga)
Guam: belembaupachet (Chamorro people)
Hawaii: ni’ au kani
Mangaia: tangi ko’e
Marquesas: hiva oa, tita’a kohe
New Britain Island: kaur (Gazelle Peninsula)
New Guinea: susap (Pidgin): begnankr (Buang people); bombom pumbune, tungge, songer (Biak and Tanah Merah, Irian Jaya)
New Zealand (Maori): kukau, rooria
Palau Islands: tumtum ra lild
Pukapuka: vivo
Samoa: utete (also used in Futuna, Tonga, and Uvea)
Solomon Islands: mabu (Nissan); tankuvani (Nasioi people)
Tonga: mokena

Africa (local terms for imported European metal bow-shaped instruments)

Madagascar: lokanga vava
Nigeria: bambaro, bamboro, babore (Hausa people, also in Cameroon, Mali and Niger; Songhay people of Niger); zagada (another Hausa term)
South Africa: sekebeku, setjoli (Sotho people); isithokotholo (Zulu people)
Tanzania: koma (Shambala people)

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Baines, Anthony, ed.  Musical Instruments Through the Ages.  Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1971.

- - - .  The Oxford Companion to Musical Instruments.  Oxford: Oxford U Press, 1992.

Beare, Charles.  “Jew’s Harp.”  The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments.  Vol. 2. London: Macmillan, 1984.  326-328.

Dearling, Robert, ed.  The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments.  London: Carlton, 1996.

Fox, Leonard, sel., ed. and trans.  The Jew's Harp: A Comprehensive Anthology.  London: Bucknell U Press, 1988.

Marcuse, Sibyl.  A Survey of Musical Instruments. London: Newton Abbot, 1975.

Schmidt, Dr. Wilhelm Ludwig.  “The Aura or Mouth-Harmonica.”  The Jew's Harp: A Comprehensive Anthology. London: Bucknell U Press, 1988.  97-129.

Baines, Anthony, ed.  Musical Instruments Through the Ages.  Harmondsworth, Middlesex:
 Penguin Books, 1971.

- - - .  The Oxford Companion to Musical Instruments.  Oxford: Oxford U Press, 1992.


Brunet, Jacques, and Ngac Him, rec.  Bali: Folk Music / Musique populaire.  Musics and Musicians of the World.  Auvidis-Unesco, 1988.

Dournon, Geneviève, and Jean Schwarz. Instruments de musique du monde: Le chant du monde [Musical Instruments of the World]. Collection du centre national de la recherché scientifique et du musèe de l’homme, 1990.

Feld, Steven.  Voices of the Rainforest. Rykodisc, 1991.

Haï, Trân Quang.  Guimbardes du monde: Jew’s Harps of the World.  Playa Sound, 1997.

Karaikudi, R. Mani.  Karaikudi R. Mani Presents Laya Chithra: Carnatic Instrumental.  The Gramophone Co. of India, 1995.

Roseman, Marina.  Dream Songs and Healing Sounds in the Rainforests of Malaysia. Smithsonian/Folkways, 1995.

Internet Resources

Bakx, Phons, and Henk Postma.  “A Folk World column by Phons Bakx and Henk Postma.” The Folk World Column 7 (Dec. 1998): no. pag.  Worldmusic.de  Online.  Internet. Available HTTP: http://www.worldmusic.de/folkworld/7/jewsharp.html  (3 Nov. 1999).

Gohring, Bill, and Janet, comp., Dr. Fredrick Crane, cor.  “History of the Jew’s Harp.”  Apr. 1999. The Jew’s Harp Guild Home Page.  Online.  Internet.  Available HTTP: http://www.jewsharpguild.org/history.html  (3 Nov. 1999).

- - - .  “How to Play Jew’s Harp.”  Apr. 1999.  The Jew’s Harp Guild Home Page.  Online. Internet.  Available HTTP: http://www.jewsharpguild.org/play.html  (3 Nov. 1999).

Harman, Wayland.  “How to Play a Steel Jew’s Harp.”  Apr. 1999.  The Jew’s Harp Guild Home Page.  Online.  Internet.  Available HTTP: http://www.jewsharpguild.org/whmo2.html (3 Nov. 1999).

- - - .  “Steel Jew’s Harp: Advanced Playing Techniques.”  Apr. 1999.  The Jew’s Harp Guild Home Page.  Online.  Internet.  Available HTTP: http://www.jewsharpguild.org/whmo4.html  (3 Nov. 1999).

Postma, Henk, and Phons Bakx.  1998. The Dutch Jew's Harp Pages.  Online.  Internet. Available HTTP: http://www.zeelandnet.nl/paclax/jewsharp  (3 Nov. 1999).


Karaikudi, R. Mani.  “Mridangam Maestro – Part 1.”  Personal interview.  Mixdown Monthly  58  (Feb. 1999): 24.

- - - .  “Mridangam Maestro – Part 2.”  Personal interview.  Mixdown Monthly  59  (Mar. 1999): 30.

- - - .  Personal interview.  18 Jul. 1999.

Postma, Henk.  “Henk Postma: The Jew’s Harp in the Netherlands.”  Personal interview.  Mixdown Monthly  65  (Sep. 1999): 35.

Srirangam, S. Kannan.  Personal interview.  18 Jul. 1999.


“The Jewsaphone.”  Leonard Fox, sec., ed. and trans.  Photograph.  The Jew's Harp : A Comprehensive Anthology.  London: Bucknell U Press, 1988.

Pertout, Andrian.  Genggong Performer in Bali, Indonesia.  Photograph.  Private collection of Andrian Pertout, Melbourne.  28 Feb. 1998.

“Iron Jew’s Harp: Morchang from Rajasthan.”  Dournon, Geneviève, and Jean Schwarz.  Photograph.  Instruments de musique du monde: Le chant du monde [Musical Instruments of the World].  Collection du centre national de la recherché scientifique et du musèe de l’homme, 1990.

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