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Thread: Hear Rare String Instruments

  1. #16
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    The horn violin, or Strohviolin, or in other languages vioară cu goarnă and Stroh hegedű, isn't so common depending on where you live. I heard only one in real life.

    The instrument replaces the soundbox by a metal membrane and a horn or two. The sound tends to be very tinny and narrow, but some instruments are less bad in this aspect, possibly the ones built by Stroh with a wider horn. Examples:
    and here also a cello and a bass

    I wouldn't give up a true violin for that, but it's fun.

  2. #17
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    Just in case someone doesn't know what a tromba marina is (ok, nearly everybody should ignore that, as the instrument was abandoned before the baroque era)...

    The bowed string instrument has a special bridge called guidon, just in equilibrium so one foot hits the soundboard at each vibration cycle to produce a loud strident sound resembling a trumpet.

    Being a historic curiosity, it's mostly played by people who invested little time to learn it without a professor, but here are good audio records. Yes, that's a string instrument.

  3. #18
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    The concert or pedal harp is too rare. But what about the chromatic harp then?

    The concert harp is diatonic, with pedals to change the key. Pretty much inadequate for romantic and posterior music, and many scores are clumsy or impossible. While smaller chromatic harps were known, in 1894 Gustave Lyon invented a large concert chromatic harp at Pleyel. Alas, the new instrument couldn't play the existing scores with diatonic glissandi, it demanded new skills too, and didn't succeed. The big instruments are survivors built by Pleyel up to 1930. One is in Brussel's fabulous Musée des Intruments de Musique, a handful are played. We can say: rare.
    en.wikifr.wikide.wiki (contents differs)
    scholarlyrepository.miami.edu link to 10MB PhD thesis there
    fr.wiki alleges that the last professor, Francette Bartholomée, retired in 2005, but Paola Chatelle teaches the harp in Brussels and plays the chromatic harp, and Vanessa Gerkens too teaches the chromatic harp in Belgium.

    • The older triple-raw chromatic harp is well alive in Wales
      while the crossed chromatic instrument gets rare in Spain
      the whole Bbc documentary is fascinating.
    • The big Pleyel instruments sound a bit dry and narrow to my ears. Maybe pedal harps sounded that way too and got a wider body meanwhile. Also, the additional strings knowingly demand a stronger table, heavier and stiffer, and the eccentric implantation lets the strings feel a stronger resistance.
    • More recent harps, also cross-strung with 7+5 strings per octave for natural notes and accidentals. They are smaller up to now, like 5 octaves instead of 7, and sound even dryer. What's the string material?
    • Recent small harps with 6+6 strings per octave regularly spaced. These too sound dry. Their proponents give playing arguments for the 6+6 against the 7+5. My impression (I don't play any harp!): the 6+6 instrument hasn't still developed the mean virtuosity of the 7+5 but is played by a wider group:
    • Recent small harps with 12 strings per octave in one row.


    ==========

    To promote the instrument, Pleyel commissioned Debussy the Danse sacrée et danse profane for chromatic harp and orchestra. These pieces are presently played on the pedal harp, reportedly with difficult pedal movements. Here Francette Bartholomée plays them
    I suppose she plays on the chromatic instrument, because I don't hear the usual parasitic noises and unnecessary caesurae, for instance at 1:15 and 3:27 in the Danse sacrée. To my ears it's nicer.

    Still by Francette Bartholomée on the grand Pleyel chromatic harp, pieces with quickly varying key signature if any – I have no idea how difficult they would be on a pedal harp
    Ballade sur un vieux Noël wallon oublié, composed by Joseph Jongen
    Nocturne 2Nocturne 3Pastorale composed by Pierre Bartholomée
    These same pieces would sound abstruse and aggressive on a violin. Composers should write more often for the harp.

    Paola Chatelle learned from Francette Bartholomée, she plays a grand Pleyel chromatic harp here
    Improvisation composed by Auguste de Boeck
    GigueDouble composed by J.S.Bach
    her website paolachatelle.be contains hearing samples paolachatelle.be/shop.html and more information.

    Vanessa Gerkens too learned from Francette Bartholomée, playing here a grand Pleyel chromatic harp
    L'écume des âmesAvalonLa Phoenix, own compositions
    She has a website too harponomie.be with infomation about the instrument harponomie.be/...renaissance
    She wants new instruments to reproduce the Pleyel model. Marc Brulé already makes a 5 octaves one.

    Here you can compare with an excellent pedal harp. The sound is deeper
    different manufacturer, different age, wider body – and fewer strings that are located at the table's centre.

    Mirjam Rietberg plays a 6+6 chromatic harp made by Zangerle
    DebussyDowland (Around 1600!)
    Her website mirjamharp.com and her Youtube channel mirjamrietbergharp

    Émilie Chevillard plays jazz on a single-row chromatic harp, here in the group Colunia jazz
    a chromatic instrument seems the obvious choice for jazz, but others play the pedal instrument.
    Last edited by Enthalpy; Jul-14-2020 at 21:58.

  4. #19
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    Soundboards of graphite fibre composite seem to use no sandwich up to now and have a distinctive sound.

    Here a guitar:
    MJ6iyWSEzIs comparisons with wood at 3:06 vs 3:38, 4:14 vs 4:52

    Here are pianos:

    And this is a cello:

  5. #20
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    The ancient Chinese Konghou harp has soundboards parallel to the strings. I believed to have invented that. The string pull less on the table(s) which can be thinner, lighter, louder. Elsewhere, I described such a concert harp. Maybe I paste the description at talkclassical too.

    How loud is the Konghou? It seems to work very well. Hear the exquisite sound
    I like immediately this music from the opposite side of Earth. Because a harp carries it?

    The low notes sound deep, better than the Erard-style harp
    that's what I expected from the bigger and more flexible soundboard.

    Introduction: the instrument abandoned for centuries was revived and modernized around 1980
    7 notes × 5 octaves, right and left identical. Double-movement pedals identical to the Erard design.

    Erard-system harpists can play the Konghou immediately

    The Konghou has a smaller range than the Erard-style harp. Two sets of strings certainly don't help the frame.
    Last edited by Enthalpy; Jul-27-2020 at 21:24.

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