Jew’s Harps

Jews Harps are found throughout the world. The name is an enigma; I have never heard a believable story connecting this instrument to the Jewish people.

There are also many names for this instrument depending on where it is found. Some of the more common names are:

Trump (French)
Khomus (Central Asia)
Doromb (Hungary)
Maultrommel (Germany)
Dan Moi (Vietnam)
Morsing (India)

Every culture has their unique variation of the Jew’s Harp but they are all basically the same; a frame of metal, bamboo or wood with a reed of metal, bamboo or wood.

One of the more interesting instruments I’ve come across is the Jewasaphone. Someone thought this was such a good idea they patented it! Maybe they thought that everyone in America would have to have one!

The horn actually does make the Jew’s Harp sound louder if it is aimed at you. This can be a fun or frightening experience depending on who is at either end of the instrument.


I hope to soon have some sound files linked to this blog and I’ll make sure the Jewsaphone will be in one of them!



4 thoughts on “Jew’s Harps

  1. Harm Linsen

    Sorry, no webpage but I’ve written some articles on the net, one in the latest newsletter of the jewsharp guild (www.jewsharpguild.org) and two on the french site guimbardage.net ( http://www.guimbardage.net/spip.php?article33 and http://www.guimbardage.net/spip.php?article37) these last two to improve my French. One of these is translated in Russian(http://www.khomus.ru/lb_art8.shtml) but when you have the jew’s harp guild version you don’t need to translate the story. There are a lot of sites regarding jew’s harps but the thing is to find them.

    Yours, Harm.

  2. Hi Harm,
    Thanks for the comments. I’m happy for the information about variations of the name “trump” in different countries.

    Do you have a web page?

    All the best,

    Doug

  3. Harm Linsen

    Hi Doug,
    Some remarks,
    There is no jewish tradition in jew’s harps. Nevertheless this name dates back to late mediaevil times. More likely jew is derived from the latin gabuta which means to play (as in the French Jeu). Or from the Scottish name Gewgaw (which means jew’s harp). A similar name can be found in Walloon Belgium, Gawe.
    Trump is English and is still used in Scotland.
    Trompe is French
    Tromp is old Dutch today ist’s called mondtrom (Belgium) or mondharp (Netherlands).

    Yours faithfully,
    Harm J. Linsen

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