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A harp is a harp is a harp . . .

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  • #113103
    lyn-boundy
    Participant

    On a lighthearted note but something that’s nonetheless bothered me for a long time – does anyone else get as irritated as I do when, looking (particularly online) for harp music, I find myself being directed to pages and pages of music for the harmonica? Yes, I know these have been referred to as ‘harps’ for many, many years but why do they have to pinch our instrument’s name? Surely the players of an instrument like this must have enough ‘puff’ to be able to get the whole four-syllable word out before collapsing from lack of breath?

    Okay, it’s not going to cause any major confusion – I can’t imagine anyone hiring what they think will be a harp player for a wedding then having the musician turn up and remove their instrument from a jacket pocket – it’s just a minor annoyance but I’d be intrigued to know more about the history of this usage and why the players of any instrument ever thought it might be a good idea to refer to their instrument by the name of another – not dissimilar to we harpers/harpists suddenly deciding to start calling our harps ‘trumpets’.

    #113104
    Angela Biggs
    Member

    Yes, that annoys me. I can’t imagine how that happened, either.

    I often browse Craigslist on the search term “harp,” and the items I encounter most frequently are harmonicas, chairs, and a brand of old microphone! Blergh. 🙂

    #113105

    I was contacted by someone once who wanted harp lessons. The local music store had referred him to me. After about a minute of conversation, it became clear that he was asking about harmonica lessons. We both had a good laugh and wished each other well!

    #113106
    Sherri Matthew
    Participant

    Angela – chairs? For playing your harp? Floor harp, lap harp or pocket harp? 😉

    I always like to wait and see if anyone responds when we get the occasional post from someone who comes across this site and posts to it without checking it out first… looking for advice about the “harp”! Lol!!

    #113107
    Angela Biggs
    Member

    Sherri – nope, they’re lyre-back chairs, but apparently around here they’re called “harp” chairs! Every time I see one I’m tempted to email the seller and pontificate about the difference between a harp and a lyre, but… nah. 🙂

    #113108
    wilma-hatcher
    Participant

    I live in WV and have often heard the harmonica referred to a “mouth harp.” I’ve also heard about “harp” chairs.

    #113109
    Sherri Matthew
    Participant

    That’s pretty neat… never heard of those before! Sort of a Victorian style, like the balloon-back chairs?

    My current “real harp” chair – for sitting and playing a harp like we know them, is in need of re-upholstering – kitty cat likes the fabric too much! Maybe will get done by Christmas…

    #113110
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    Be glad they don’t expect you to teach Jew’s harp.

    #113111
    Tacye
    Participant
    #113112
    Sherri Matthew
    Participant

    Hi Tacye,

    Thanks for the link… I’ve never seen that style before. Quite an asking price for the chair, even for an antique! The lot notes were an interesting read.

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