Rare Chinese Harp

Got hold of a peculiar Chinese harp with 4 strings attached, not sure whether it’s indigenous.

I’ve seen jaw harps with up to 5 strings attached from Taiwan, though the appearance of this Chinese harp beats all. So far, it seems impossible to let the strings resonate in my mouth cavety, though the instrument is fitted with a small drum that works fine as a resonator chamber and as a natural amplifier for the string sounds. In etymological respect, the attached drum may elucidate something about the uncommon Dutch name mondtrommel for jaw harp. In German it’s common to refer to jaw harps as Maultrommel. So that explains. One of the Chinese names for this 4 stringed harp is Bān zhuō qín, spelled in symplified Chinese as 班卓琴. The lenght and weight beats any jaw harp I’ve ever seen. The lenght is about 50 cm and it weighs a little over a kilo, which is more than a bag filled with 100 jaw harps. It almost resembles the pocket size nature of some other jaw harps, though you need deep coat pockets to stuff it away. The overtones don’t give much sustain, which gives plenty challange for percussive use. Moreover this harp has great melodic range.

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