This instrument is well known even today and has nothing to do with the Jewish faith. The musical possibilities can be increased by the use of additional tongues, giving additional tones, and in the early 19th century Germany, jew's harps were made with as many as 16 tongues. Although the it enjoyed a brief period of distinction as a concert instrument in the 18th and 19th centuries in Germany and Austria, it has been primarily used in folk music.
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The duo of khomus player Yuliyana Krivoshapkina from the Sakha Republic and Tuvan throat singer Aidyn Byrtaan-ool bridges two mesmerizing centuries-old traditions from remote Eurasian lands where the sounds of nature are reproduced on instruments and by the human voice.
The surrounding glass cases contained hundreds of different types of Khomus. Dolls were used to depict the areas of the world from which they originated. Many of the items were donated to the museum by of the most interesting displays was the Khomus that was given to the museum by a Siberian astronaut, who played the Khomus whilst on the International Space Khomus was originally an instrument played by females, so there are a few displays of traditional jewelery and a picture of a mother and daughter in traditional Yakut dress playing the Khomus. Other musical instruments, including stringed and an accordion were on out for the "Alien" Khomus which has red eyes and is exhibited next to a black pyramid shape.
On a personal front, the only way I can achieve more interest is to play wherever and whenever possible and to tell people about it, hence this article. There are a few projects in the pipeline that, hopefully, will prove the versatility of the instrument and raise its profile. I am grateful that John gave David and I those harps all those years ago and I firmly believe that the Jew's harp will come back into favour here, as a traditional musical instrument.
Some of the historic interpreters at Michilimackinac play jaw harps, so you can hear one of the sounds of the 18th century community when you visit. Original jaw harps, excavated by the archaeologists, are also on display in the Treasures from the Sand exhibit. We hope you'll join us at Colonial Michilimackinac after the site opens on May 2 to see and hear these historic trade items.
He made himself an electronic Jew's harp that doesn't need the attack no longer from a playing hand. He originated Jew's harps for children (see photo above), and he made himself a set of 13 Jew's harps tuned in a chromatic scale. An admirable design is his Grusha-Jew's harp, a pear-form wooden case that is constructed around the frame of a metal Jew's harp. The player can make an extra (pitching-up) sound effect by touching his finger (or his thumb) on a hole in this wooden case.
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