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Autoharp

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     The autoharp is a musical stringed instrument having a series of chord bars attached to dampers which, when depressed, mute all the strings other than those that form the desired chord. Despite its name, the autoharp is not a harp at all, but a chorded zither.

     Modern autoharps have 36 or 37 strings, although some examples with as many as 47 strings, and even a rare 48-string model exists. They are strung in either diatonic (1, 2 or 3 key models) or chromatic scales. Standard models have 15 or 21 chord bars, or buttons, available, a selection of major, minor, and dominant seventh chords. These are arranged for historical or systemic reasons, as for example.

     Autoharps have been used in the United States as bluegrass and folk instruments.Outside of bluegrass and country music, both acoustic and electric autoharp were occasionally used in the folk-influenced parts of late 1960s/1970s progressive rock, psychedelia and related genres by e.g. Genesis, Renaissance and Led Zeppelin.

 


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoharp

 


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