jew's harp

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Jew's harp

or jew's harp (jo͞oz)
n.
A small musical instrument consisting of a lyre-shaped metal frame that is held between the teeth and a projecting steel tongue that is plucked to produce a soft twanging sound.

[Origin unknown.]

Jew's′

(or Jews'′) harp`,


n.
(sometimes l.c.) a small, simple musical instrument consisting of a lyre-shaped metal frame containing a metal tongue, which is plucked while the frame is held in the teeth, the vibrations causing twanging tones.
[1585–95]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Jew's harp - a small lyre-shaped musical instrument that is placed between the teeth and played by twanging a wire tongue while changing the shape of the mouth cavityjew's harp - a small lyre-shaped musical instrument that is placed between the teeth and played by twanging a wire tongue while changing the shape of the mouth cavity
musical instrument, instrument - any of various devices or contrivances that can be used to produce musical tones or sounds
References in classic literature ?
There was a carpet all over the floor, and in one corner there was a forty-pinny and a Jew's harp and the divil knows what ilse, and in another corner was a sofy, the beautifullest thing in all natur, and sitting on the sofy, sure enough, there was the swate little angel, Misthress Tracle.
It was the village of Rowley Regis, more than any, that cornered the world market in Jew's harps.
The earliest Jew's harps in Europe date back as far as the 15th Century, but by the early 1700s they had been added to Birmingham's boundless catalogue of metalwork.
It explores what tunes might have been played, how much Jew's harps might have cost and where they could have been purchased, and describes archaeological finds that show the kinds of instruments available.
These provide evidence of the importation of Jew's harps from the Continent throughout the period.
End blown and side blown wooden flutes, clay ocarina, metal and wooden Jew's harps, traditional lutes called komuz and upright bowl fiddles combine to create layered musical textures.
Among Tengir-Too's new compositions are extraordinary experimental pieces for two or three metal and wooden Jew's harps playing together.
The silly title notwithstanding, the Vierundzwanzigsteljahrsschrift der Internationalen Maultrommelvirtuosengenossenschaft (VIM) is a serious journal of worldwide research concerning Jew's harps, or trumps, privately published by Frederick Crane since its inception in 1982; volume 11 is due in 2003.
More importantly, Crane rightly notes that Jew's harps seldom signal anti-Semitism; in fact, he shows that in symbolic usage these much-loved instruments generally convey positive values.
Chapters that follow overview the variety of percussion (slit drums, sounding boards, jew's harps, rattles, gourd drum, body percussion), wind (conch signalling, panpipes, nose flutes, end-blown flutes, trumpets), and stringed (mouth bow) instruments.
which contains valuable articles on numerous aspects of the instrument, in addition to a large number of meticulously annotated photographs of Jew's harps from around the world.
The year 1990 saw the first issue of (the English-titled) Koukin Journal: A Biannual Journal for the Jew's Harps of the World in Japan; and in Yakutsk, in 1991, a second International Jew's Harp Congress took place.