14 October 2009

Banishes Thoughts

- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:

"A jews-harp's plenty good enough for a rat. All animals likes music -- in a prison they dote on it. Specially, painful music; and you can't get no other kind out of a jews-harp. It always interests them; they come out to see what's the matter with you. Yes, you're all right; you're fixed very well. You want to set on your bed, nights, before you go to sleep, and early in the mornings, and play your jews-harp; play The Last Link is Broken -- that's the thing that'll scoop a rat, quicker'n anything else: and when you've played about two minutes, you'll see all the rats, and the snakes, and spiders, and things begin to feel worried about you, and come. And they'll just fairly swarm over you, and have a noble good time."

Sometimes called a Jew's Harp, or Maultrommel, or Scacciapensiare (literally 'banishes-thoughts'? or maybe 'cares-away'?)- I like this instrument. It is really simple, cross-cultural and suits the wanderering soul.
It makes a twangy noise. ( you might know it from A Few Dollars More theme?)
You can modulate the single note it makes by changing the shape of your mouth or breathing over it...

anyway- mine is broken. (top) Ill have to heat it up red hot to re-affix the 'twanger'.Ill let you know how it goes. But it will be a higher note because it is now a bit shorter. This one is pretty big- the vibrations make my eyes shake when I pluck it!

Fantastic image of woman is from barabeke's flickr


  1. I enjoy your blog and really like your pieces.
    many greetings from chile

    joyasdelaodisea dot blogspot dot com

  2. I forgot to tell you that we called TROMPE to this instrument, (I use to travel with mine, a red one).-

  3. Thanks Carlolina...
    very interesting!

    I think 'maultromell' translates to something like 'hammer- drum' in german.

    'Jew's harp' is thought to be a derivation of 'jaw's harp'..

    "trompe' is french? for horn? or a trick?....

  4. well, trompe it's the mapuche word for that instrument (ethnic group from the south of chile)....
    so, its all over the world.