Listen Up! “J” is for Jaw Harp

J

Mouth harp, Ozark harp, Jew’s harp, trump, juice harp. All names for the jaw harp, which falls into the category of plucked idiophones. It’s considered to be one of the oldest instruments in the world, depicted in a Chinese drawing dating back to 4 BC. And despite its name, it has no connection to Jews or Judaism. So why the name? Some say it derived from the word ‘jaw,’ others from a French term: ‘jeu-trompe’ (toy trumpet), and still others claim it was the Jews who first sold these mouth harps in England. For whatever the reason, the jaw harp is played all over the world, like the Austrian jaw harp featured here:

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14 Comments

Never heard of it! Learned something new. Thx.

My kids had one of those years ago – I never knew it could be so catchy. I might have to buy my grandsons one each now!

I used to try and play this growing up. Notice the “used to!” LOL Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

Loving all the different themes people choose. didn’t know what a Jew or Jaw harp was so glad I came by. anne stenhouse, Novels Now.

There are definitely more melodious instruments!

Sukanya Ramanujan April 11, 2015 at 8:21 am

That is a unique theme you have. By the way I had never heard of a jaw harp!

HAHAHAHA! I think it would numb my mouth!

That is a trip!!!!!
I like it. I can hear it as a prelude to some crazy things about to happen in a movie trailer.
Bushman
2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador
@jwb81074

Oooo. I think that would really get on my nerves.

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