Juhan Suits ( Juss ) - Estonian bagpipes, wooden horn, whistle, vocal, jew's harp. Congress in Yakutia, 1991 — Tyva, Sakha, Khakassia, Altai, Bashkortostan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Amur basin. And also to know more Jew's harp cultures, I've visited not only countries in Asia and Europe, but also different districts inside Japan. In addition to these spatial travels, I started temporal travels to visit excavated Jew's harps from different places — mainly in Asia. The oldest reliably dated bow-shaped iron Jew's harps are from two archaeological sites in Saitama prefecture, next to Tokyo. These are dated to the first half of 10th century AD, from the circumstances of the find1. On the other hand, one of the oldest lamellate harps made of bone is from Aimyrlyg XXXI, Tyva (2nd century BC), and now kept in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg (Tadagawa, 2016: 62-63)2.
The Spring Drums' sound is generated by moving the drum (coil facing downwards) so the vibrations of the spring are transmitted through to the head. The almost indescribable and musically interesting sound has been described as a cross between a cuica, a sheet of thunder, a suspended cymbal roll, and the roar of a lion.
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In the continental area between the Middle-East and the Indian peninsula, metal types of Jew's harps are generally the vogue among the numerous (semi-)nomadic populations. There certainly is an essential difference between the robust morchang- and morsing-types of India (seen in the previous review), and the thin, sometimes defective Jew's harps that are forged by the hands of nomadic people, the casts of Jajmani-musicians in Rajasthan and several adivasi-populations in India. The latter even more carve wooden Jew's harps.
Knock Jew's Harps are very rare. We only know this type from Bali (Philippines). This Jew's Harp type has a a small block (anvil) of the same material (bamboo) at the same end where "normal" Lips Jew's Harps are being plucked. This anvil needs to be knocked softly from the side in order to make the reed vibrate.
And even though aficionados of the Jew's harp are aware that in most of the world,-perhaps even most especially in Europe - the instrument has been revered, not reviled, the fact remains that perceptions can be as important as fact. This is the rusted metal frame of a jaw harp found at the Williams' farm. It makes a very odd BOING sound when you pluck the reed with your finger.
However, if you want to play music, that is, shape sounds and tunes on the Jew's Harp intentionally, you need to know playing techniques and the functioning of the instrument. These instructions seek to contribute to this knowledge: They describe and illustrate a variety of playing techniques and give some background information on the instrument. For each technique a sound example is provided.
Yakutsk lies on the left (western) bank of the Lena River and generally stretches along the NE-SW axis. The river itself is not immediately visible from the city. The easternmost embankment, Chernyshevsky Street borders on a plain called the Green Meadow (Зеленый Луг), which is flooded every spring. The Yakutsk port is on a channel, so to see the Lena in full glory you have to either take a boat trip or venture out of the city to either of the two popular scenic capes on the river. The main street is, unsuprisingly, Lenin Avenue, (generally) going from North to South with open squares of Ordzhonikidze, Lenin, and Kulakovski adjacent to it. Most administrative and cultural buildings are within a couple of blocks from Lenin Ave. The Three Birches (Üs Khatyng, Үc Хатыҥ), site of Yhyakh, is out of town, 18km to the N.
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