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Viennese Classic#

Johann Georg Albrechtsberger: Concerto for Jews Harp and Strings#

Jews harp
Jews harp
© Steiermärkisches Landesmuseum Joanneum, Abteilung für Volkskunde (Foto: Helmut Schubert, Graz)

schematic set-up of an orchestra in the 18th c
Schematic set-up of an orchestra in the 18th c
© Steiermärkisches Landesmuseum Joanneum, Abteilung für Volkskunde (Foto: Helmut Schubert, Graz)

Musical example: Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736 Klosterneuburg/Lower Austria - 1809 Vienna), Concerto for Jew's Harp and Strings in Eb major (1770), Finale. This example documents the attempt to maintain a certain connection between sophisticated instrumental music of the period and Folkmusic. To play a complete scale with the Jew's harp (Maultrommel or Brummeisen), it takes two instruments of approximately the same size that are tuned at the interval of a fourth or a fifth apart. The Jew's harp is held between the slightly-opened rows of teeth so that the metal strip can vibrate; the mouth of the player provides the resonance. By using varying positions of the tongue, cheeks and lips, the player strengthens different overtones and can thus play melodies with a tonal amplitude of 1_ octaves. (E. Stadler)

Sound Clip#

Johann Georg Albrechtsberger: Concerto for Jew's Harp and Strings
© Klangführer durch die Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, CD-Nr. 516 537-2