National Music Museum Logo   National Music Museum  
Home  Collections
Virtual Tour
Calendar Gift Shop FAQ Site Index Maker Index

 

Images from The Beede Gallery

Five Jew's Harps, Papua New Guinea, Mid-20th Century

Click on images below to see larger images

NMM 1438

NMM 1438.  Jew's harp, Kindeng, Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century
NMM 1438.  Jew's harp, Kindeng, Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century

NMM 1438. Jew’s harp (Tombagl in local language), Kindeng, Western Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century. Ex coll.: Fred Crane, Iowa City, Iowa. Length: 23 cm (9"). Board of Trustees, 1973.

The Jew’s harp is an instrument commonly found throughout Europe, Asia, and Oceania; however, the construction and playing techniques vary according to region. In Papua New Guinea, Jew’s harps are constructed from bamboo and consist of a frame with a tongue (or lamella) attached to one end. Sound is produced by pulling a string at the base of the frame, which causes the lamella to vibrate. The opposite, pointed end is held in the player’s mouth, which acts as a resonating cavity, and the vibrations are altered with the mouth, tongue, and jaw. Changing the shape of the mouth or the position of the tongue results in the production of different pitches from the harmonic series.


NMM 1439

NMM 1439.  Jew’s harp (Hónto in Kafe language), Yaguna, Eastern Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century
NMM 1439.  Jew’s harp (Hónto in Kafe language), Yaguna, Eastern Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century

NMM 1439. Jew’s harp (Hónto in Kafe language), Yaguna, Eastern Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century. Ex coll.: Fred Crane. Length: 24 cm (9.4"). Board of Trustees, 1973.

Throughout Papua New Guinea, the Jew's harp is usually played for personal entertainment or to imitate bird calls. Among the Kafe-speaking people (an agricultural group in the Eastern Highland Province), the Jew's harp is also played by boys and young men to disguise initimate conversation during courting.



NMM 1440

NMM 1440. Jew’s harp (Ontoi in Auyana language) by Abamala A’nole, Sepuna, Eastern Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century
NMM 1440. Jew’s harp (Ontoi in Auyana language) by Abamala A’nole, Sepuna, Eastern Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century

NMM 1440. Jew’s harp (Ontoior Ontoima in Auyana language) by Abamala A’nole, Sepuna, Eastern Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century. Length: 24 cm (9.4"). Ex coll.: Fred Crane. Board of Trustees, 1973.

Among the Auyana-speaking people (a group of fifteen agricultural villages in the Eastern Highland Province), the Jew's harp can be played by any male, but is usually played by children.



NMM 1441

NMM 1441. Jew’s Harp (Wege in Dumaka language), Onuma, Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century
NMM 1441. Jew’s Harp (Wege in Dumaka language), Onuma, Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century

NMM 1441. Jew’s Harp (Wege in Dumaka language), Onuma, Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century. Length: 24.5 cm (9.6"). Ex coll.: Fred Crane. Board of Trustees, 1973.



NMM 1442

NMM 1442. Jew’s Harp (Honto in Kafe language) by No’empa, Karafu, Eastern Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century
NMM 1442. Jew’s Harp (Honto in Kafe language) by No’empa, Karafu, Eastern Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century

NMM 1442. Jew’s Harp (Hónto or Hondo in Kafe language) by No’empa, Karafu, Eastern Highland Province, Papua New Guinea, mid-20th century. Length: 21 cm (8-1/4"). Ex coll.: Fred Crane. Board of Trustees, 1973.



  Click arrow to continue Beede Gallery Tour

Go to Beede Gallery Tour Index

Go to Virtual Gallery Tour Index

Go to Annotated Checklist of Musical Instruments From Oceania on Display at the NMM

National Music Museum
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD   57069

©National Music Museum, 2008-2010
Most recent update:   October 9, 2010

The University of South Dakota
Return to Top of Page