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Irish harp(i) (Irish cláirseach; Scots Gael. clàrsach)locked

  • Joan Rimmer


The specific name for the regionally distinctive kind of harp made in Ireland and Gaelic Scotland between the 12th and 18th centuries. 14 instruments and fragments survive from the 14th century onwards. Characteristic structural features were: i) a resonator (‘box’) hollowed from a single block of wood (generally willow) to a thickness of about 1·3 cm on the curved belly, but with thicker sides; this was closed at the back by a wooden ‘door’; ii) a curved forepillar, most of which was T-shaped in section; iii) a deeply curved neck; iv) 30–36 brass strings, attached at the left side of the neck to metal tuning pins and at the lower end to wooden toggles inside the box; v) horseshoe-shaped metal loops (‘shoes of the strings’) fixed round the friction area of each string hole in the belly....

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Galpin Society Journal
Early Music