AFRICAN MUSIC FROM SENEGAL, KORA MUSIC FROM WEST AFRICA, HARP AND KORA MUSICAL PERFORMANCE IN LONDON, Is the harp hard to play? Unlike wind and bowed string instruments, the harp sounds great from day one and it is relatively easy to play simple and satisfying pieces after only a few lessons. However, the harp is a difficult instrument to play to a high standard.
How much does a harp cost?
How much does a harp cost? The average price of a lever harp is between $2,500 to $5,000 while a full size pedal harp is $15,000 to $20,000.
Why do harps cost so much? Quality of Materials
Not only does quality wood influence the harp's aesthetic quality, but it also affects its sound production and durability. So, you can see why a harp with top-notch wood is usually more expensive. In light of this, the wood in professional harps is one of several reasons they cost so much.
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The kora (Bambara: ߞߐߙߊ köra) is a stringed instrument used extensively in West Africa. A kora typically has 21 strings, which are played by plucking with the fingers. It combines features of the lute and harp.
The kora is built from a large calabash, cut in half and covered with cow skin to make a resonator with a long hardwood neck. The skin is supported by two handles that run underneath it. It has 21 strings, each of which plays a different note. These strings are supported by a notched, double free-standing bridge. The kora doesn't fit into any one category of musical instrument, but rather several, and must be classified as a "double-bridge-harp-lute." The strings run in two divided ranks, characteristic of a double harp. They do not end in a soundboard but are instead held in notches on a bridge, classifying it as a bridge harp. The strings originate from a string arm or neck and cross a bridge directly supported by a resonating chamber, also making it a lute.
The sound of a kora resembles that of a harp, though when played in the traditional style it bears resemblance to a guitar played using the flamenco or Delta blues technique of plucking polyrhythmic patterns with both hands (using the remaining fingers to secure the instrument by holding the hand posts on either side of the strings). Ostinato riffs ("Kumbengo") and improvised solo runs ("Birimintingo") are played at the same time by skilled players.
Kora players have traditionally come from jali families (also from the Mandinka tribes) who are traditional historians, genealogists and storytellers who pass their skills on to their descendants. Though played in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso, the instrument was first discovered in the Gambia. While those from neighbouring Guinea were known to carry the lute, Senegalese Griots were known as carriers of a hand drum known as the Sabar. Most West African musicians prefer the term "jali" to "griot," which is the French word. "Jali" means something similar to a "bard" or oral historian.
Traditional koras feature strings, eleven played by the left hand and ten by the right. Modern koras made in the Casamance region of southern Senegal sometimes feature additional bass strings, adding up to four strings to the traditional 21. Strings were traditionally made from thin strips of hide, such as cow or antelope skin. Today, most strings are made from harp strings or nylon fishing line, sometimes plaited together to create thicker strings.
A vital accessory in the past was the nyenmyemo, a leaf-shaped plate of tin or brass with wire loops threaded around the edge. Clamped to the bridge,[dubious – discuss] or the top end of the neck it produced sympathetic sounds, serving as an amplifier since the sound carried well into the open air. In today's environment, players usually prefer or need an electronic pickup.
By moving the konso (a system of leather tuning rings) up and down the neck, a kora player can retune the instrument into one of four seven-note scales. These scales are close in tuning to western major, minor and Lydian modes.
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