Austrian origin for my antique Jew’s harp

img_14141My very handy wife, J, decided that rather than let me get rabies from playing the rusty antique Jew’s harp, she would clean it up. After some key Brillo pad scouring of the rust, this interesting detail came up. The harp was made in Austria! The question now is when. The kind of wear demonstrated is seen in coins from around fifty years ago. But a musical instrument shouldn’t get the kind of wear and tear that a coin gets, meaning this particular harp may be closer to a hundred years old. But, the older it is, the less likely the manufacturer would put Austria and more likely Republik Österreich or some other variation, I would think, although Austria is the Latinized version of Österreich. It is a bent piece of diamond shaped iron wire with the center blade soldered on, rather roughly. Its presence in central Europe may come from Magyar (Huns) or Ottoman Turk influences. Very cool.

Central Asian Chant Ringtone

 

CHANT FILE CLICK HERE      CHANT FILE CLICK HERE

 

I composed this last night with Garageband using vocal tracks and a Blue Snowflake USB microphone. The twanging sound is from the antique Jew’s Harp. The throat singing is me recorded in two different tracks with vocal settings on “Deep Male Voice” and “Helium” which helps accentuate the overtones (or at least gives the impression that I can produce overtones). I’ve been practicing for years in the shower trying to get the nasal whistling overtones, but this has eluded me. The deeper resonant sounds are easier for me. The chant is a Korean Buddhist prayer for intercession of mercy on the world.

It was inspired by the movie Mongol. The movie and this chant compel me to a desire for riding on the Central Asian steppes in full medieval Mongol warrior regalia at the head of a horde charge. I think Mongol should take Best Foreign Film at this year’s Oscars if it doesn’t get run over by that Indian movie. The trailer attached below I think is in Russian -and shows mostly the battle scenes. The movie is meant to be a first chapter in a trilogy. It shows Genghis Khan in his youth and his relationship with his long-suffering wife.