Jew's Harp, Or Jew's Trump
JEW'S HARP, or JEW'S TRUMP (Fr. Tronye), a small musical instrument, known for centuries all over Europe, and consisting of a metal frame with two branches, between which a slender tongue of steel, fastened at one end, and free at the other, is made to vibrate by twitching with the finger, while the frame is held between the teeth. The English name "Jew's trump," seems to be merely a corruption of the French words jeer and tronye. Pxefixed to the Rev. Patrick Macdonald's Collection of Highland Airs (1781) is a dissertation by the Rev. Walter Young, in which he states that the natives of the island of St Kilda, "being great lovers of dancing, have a number of reels, which are either sung, or played on the Jew's harp or trump, their only musical instrument" (p. 11). In the Himalaya journals one of the travellers mentions that he procured a Jew's harp from Tibet. At the commence,• ment of the present century this instrument was improved, and several Jew's harps were combined, it being thus possible by using several instruments in different keys to obtain a complete scale. Eulenstein, a native of Wiirtemberg, made a sensation in London in 1827 by playing on no less than sixteen Jew's harps. No. 30 of the Leipsic Musical Gazette (1816) contains an account of the compound Jew's harp, with pieces of music suited for it.