JEW'S HARP     


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Jew's Harp notation system

The following system of fixation of jew's harp music will be used at the web site varganist.ru. At the first site it looks like a usual European musical notation, but it is too simplified for comfortable usage by musicians who do not have special education. All the melodies are in C-major (or A-minor), and also notes mean not a certain pitch but an exact overtone which should be beaten by a jew's harp. Consequently you need not transpose such notation, and it can be used for any tuned instrument.



  • Jew's harp's overtones system is described in the article "Finding the Jew's harp Notes I" . "C" of the first octave means the eight overtone of a jew's harp of any type, not depending the fact what is the real pitch of this sound, correspondence between other notes and jew's harp overtones is reflected on the picture above.
  • - The arrow pointing upwards means exhalation, downwards one means inhalation (on the picture above arrows mean deviation of sound of jew's harp overtone from the chromatic tone row, it is made only for information, further arrows in our jew's harp notation will mean only breath)
  • The rhythm is given by finger beats on the reed at each of not tied notes.
  • - If the note group is covered with the sign "tie" (in other words it is tied), the finger beat should be made only at the first note of all the tied notes, the rest of notes are produced with the help of your speech apparatus and breath.
  • - Strokes a reed away from you (it is not always denoted).
  • - Strokes a reed toward you (it is not always denoted).
  • - Making an accent.
  • + - A closed sound, the sounds which are not marked by this sign are open.
  • tr - trill
  • ha - Abrupt beginning of the sound with the help an epiglottis.
  • ah - A sudden stop of a sound with the help of an epiglottis.
  • * - The reed of the jew's harp pinched by finger.
  • Ta, Ka, Ti ... - Using syllables.
  • The rest of signs correspond to the European system of notation. The base ones are worked out in the article " Music Theory Basics".
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© Vladimir Markov 2009, 2010
this article translated by Natalia Ivanitsa