Aura(i) (from Lat. aura:‘breath’).
- Kevin Mooney
(from Lat. aura:‘breath’).
An instrument consisting of several heteroglot Jew’s harps, invented by J.H. Scheibler and described in his short treatise of 1816. It was largely a response to the contemporary – and short-lived – vogue of the jew’s harp on the European concert stage. Scheibler himself was one of its more accomplished practitioners, and published some of his own compositions and arrangments for the instrument in his treatise.
Scheibler’s aura consisted of two identical star-shaped frames made from sheet metal or horn, and joined in the centre by a handle with a screw. Mounted into the frames were two sets of five jew’s harps, each held in place by the screw of the handle so that their steel reeds pointed inward. The handle of each frame was grasped between the thumb and index finger and the reed was struck with a downward motion of the fourth finger. The harps in the right-hand frame were tuned ...