Ardival Urquhart Renaissance Bray Harp, 29 Gut Strings - clamshell soundbox
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Paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries frequently show musician angels playing 'Gothic' harps alongside other instruments of the day. These harps had bray pins and were heard all over Europe during the Renaissance, being used for accompanying court songs and sacred music, and for playing dance music. Instead of using ordinary string pegs, 'Gothic' harps were fitted with crooked wooden pegs, which held the gut strings in place and lightly touched them, causing a silvery buzzing effect. Although sounding a bit exotic to modern ears, this buzzing was familiar throughout Europe for several hundred years.
The Urquhart is a full-size bray harp, typical of those used across Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Both models are made of sycamore, are fitted with a full set of bray pins, and have an arm designed to accurately fret semi-tones. With a range extending down to bass C, the Urquhart has a clear sound with the brays turned off and gives a satisfying growl when they are turned on.
Strings: 29 gut strings
Width (across soundbox) 21 cm; Depth (from end of string arm to back of soundbox) 50 cm; Length (from end of string arm to base of pillar) 152 cm
Weight: 6 kg
This harp has the clamshell soundbox, but a simple rectangular soundbox is also available at 20% less.