Sunday, April 21, 2013

I just updated my King David Harp page on my website, with new photos and videos from Youtube. Please take a look!:-)

King David Davidic Harps, Nevels and Kinnors   

I am now able to offer my Kinnors created with Olive Wood from the Holy Land.

More than 3000 years ago in ancient Israel, a young shepherd boy named David was brought quickly many times in the middle of the night to play his harp before an ailing King Saul. The king had been having nightmares, anger fits and general malaise that was affecting his mind as well as his physical health. When the harp was being played he 'felt better and the evil spirit departed from Saul". Powerful words to describe a situation known all too well by many people in our own times.

Harp therapy is a general term used to describe the continuum of types of therapies in which the harp is used. It may be provided at home or in a clinical setting. When therapeutic harp music is played, recipients may receive beneficial effects such as increased relaxation, improvement in sleep, decreased pain and anxiety, stabilization of vital signs, and improvement in mood. An end-of-life music vigil can also help a patient to achieve a peaceful transition.

The servants of King Saul knew that the sounds of the harp were able to have a healing affect on people. They didn't have the scientific knowledge of why and how, but they did know that something profound happened to people when the harp was played, and so they found the 'best harpist' in the land to bring to their ailing king to ease his suffering and bring him moments of peace and well being.
 A part of my family is said to have a personal connection to King David, of decent from the House of David. It was my ancestral family, De Nasi (meaning Prince and referring to decent from David), family ancestors who escaped the inquisition in Spain to settle in Venice Italy in the 1400`s, who were regarded as descendents of the House of David. They made their way through the Court of Henry VIII in England, with their descendents eventually settling in early Virginia, in the 1600-1700`s.

The Kinnor Davidic type of harp

This type of harp, or more properly Lyre,  was played in the time of King David and in Israel's First & Second Temples periods. Its structure and basic design is known from ancient coins, Biblical descriptions and from Talmudic information. The Kinnor is built in the style of a Lyre, with a double upright neck support for the horizontal neck.
The scholars have decided that these ancient Kinnors,  Davidic Lyres were usually tuned with two different note ranges, from middle C up to E, or from A below middle C, up to A.
The strings on my Custom Kinnors are nylon as the standard, though for an extra charge gut strings can be used. Custom models with Bronze strings can also be designed and created. Precious metal strings are also possible, please inquire.

I can build these King David Kinnors,  Davidic Lyres out of a number of wood choices, Black Walnut, Figured Maple,  Cherry wood, and my favorite, Myrtle wood, which is the same tree as the Biblical Laurel  tree. I am also now as of 2013 building my King David Davidic Lyres from Olive wood from Israel and Italy.

My wood source in Israel can provide ancient 500 to 1,000 year old olive wood from Jersruslam or Bethlehem, as well as from other locations in the Holy Land. The sizes of the available wood from Israel varies, so at times I will use some Olive wood from Italy in combination with the wood from the Holy land.

I price out my Davidic Lyres and Kinnors individually, according to how large, how many strings, and how much detail carving you may desire. Please email me and tell me what you have in mind. The price range is usually from a low of $1,500, up to $2,500 and more, if gemstones or precious metals are used. Olive wood is rare and more expensive, so for this wood an individual quote will be made depending on the current availability and price.

King David Harp, Celtic Harp, Folk Harp, Lever Harp, Irish HarpKing David Harp, Celtic Harp, Folk Harp, Lever Harp, Irish HarpKing David Harp, Celtic Harp, Folk Harp, Lever Harp, Irish Harp
Harp in Pictures above: This is a 10 string King David Davidic Lyre-Kinnor, carved from Myrtle wood and Engelmann Spruce. The raised relief carved Hebrew letters spell out " Sing a New Song Joy, Praise-be". The carving on the back is of two olive branches and a raised relief Star of David. There is a carved-out generous sized sound chamber inside the body. Some of the carving and the sound holes are highlighted with gilding.

Harp shown above: Carved Black Walnut Davidic 10 string kinnor, with both necks carved like twisted Ram`s Horns. There is a  gold mounted diamond, set into the center of the Star of David carving on the back of this Kinnor.

The Nevel Harp

The  Ancient Jewish Nevel Harp, was usually built with 22 strings, strung with strings made from gut, or in some cases with wire strings made from bronze, and perhaps gold and silver. This harp style resembles the Celtic lap harp in many ways. This style of harp is also seen in marble carving form the Greek Cycladic Islands.

These harps I can build with the 22 strings matched up with the 22 letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet. The note range is three octaves, from Middle C to C, two above middle C.  Nylon strings are standard, but gut strings can be used at an extra charge. Bronze strings can also be used, and precious metal strings are possible, please inquire about them.

I build these Nevels the same basic way I build all my harps, of all solid hardwood and Spruce, with five sided rounded staved sound boxes, with all pieces book-matched. The back sound holes can be custom carved in the shape of shooting stars, olive branches, or many other shapes. I can carve the letters of the Alep-Bet next to the corresponding note, on the string rib as well. 

The detail of the neck and pillar can incorporate many types of carving, in Hebrew prayers, olive branches, carved Doves of Peace or any other inspired image you may see in your Dreams and Prayers. For example,  the entire neck at the top of the Nevel can be carved like a range of hills in Israel, with detailed carving of olive groves and villages tucked in the folds, and with a stream flowing down onto the fore-pillar, cascading down and around to the base of the harp.

For a Custom Nevel, with the Aleph-Bet carved into the string rib next to the corresponding string, custom shaped back sound holes, and two small carved and gilded, star of David sound holes in the sound board, nylon strings and a full set of Loveland sharping levers, the price is $2,700.
Built from a combination of Olive wood from Israel and Italy, the price is $3,500.

For gut strings, and for extra carving of Hebrew Prayers and lettering, olive branches and more, I will quote each project individually. As with all my custom harp projects, I will produce a full sized drawing for your approval, before I start to build.
Custom Sizes
I can build these type of Harps-Nevels and Lyres-Kinnors for you, in almost any size and number of strings, though some scholars point to the ancient Israeli harps as perhaps having 10 strings for the Kinnor, which has a symbolic importance in Jewish Mystical beliefs,( Ten Commandments, the Ten Plagues, the Ten Sepheroth in the body), and 22 strings for the Nevel, which corresponds to the number of letters in the Hebrew Aleph-Bet. 

A small Kinnor, to be easily playable, is best not strung with more than 12 strings. A triangular King David harps can be built with from 19 up to 45 strings. Both styles can be shaped and decorated with carving and inlay work in many different ways that can bring the theme and feeling of King David`s music  to life in your hands !

Please let me know what you have in mind, almost any variation or custom design is possible!:-) Each custom project like this is priced individually.
 Harp shown here above: Custom 15 string Kinnor. Myrtle wood with Spruce sound board. Five pointed stars, and inset natural rounded quartz pieces inset into the wood surface.

Thank you for coming to visit my Harp Pages, please let me know how I can bring your Dream Harp to Life !
Follow your Bliss, and live your Life in Joy!
Glenn J. Hill