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harpe, Harfe, arpa

Stearns #1620


London, England

This Harp was made by Sebastian Erard between 1810 and 1830. Erard applied for the first English patent for the forked mechanism—a two-pronged disc which replaced the hook that was in common use. In 1810, the double action mechanism was patented which made it possible for the harpist to play in all major and minor keys. Erard’s concept is still in use today.

The wooden pillar is round and has twenty fluted indentations with a leaf base and three Grecian maidens at the capital. The bronze-painted wood crossbar exhibits a deep curve that is reinforced with a pair of brass plates. The pedal mechanism can be seen through the open bottom; pedals control the double action mechanism. The spruce resonance chamber has a back bowl of wood (possibly maple). A pedal controls five trapezoidal dampers that mute the five trapezoidal sound holes. There are forty-three gut and metal-wound strings. They attach to metal wrest pins on the crossbar and to pegs at the center of the sound board. The base has four lion-paw feet, seven pitch-controlling pedals, and one damper pedal.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith