Tag Archives: Harps



Name: Ardin.
Types: Chordophones > Harps > Bridged.
Hornbostel-sachs No#: 325.5
Country: Mauritania.
Region: Sahel, North West Africa.

Description: The ardin is used to accompany solo singing, usually by women. Sometimes two harps accompany two women singers, together with either the drum. The ardin is an angle harp that is played by Moorish Women in Mauritania.

Playing Techniques: The harp is played with its body in front of the seated player, the neck to the left of the player’s head. It can be played with both hands or only with the left, the right then providing a percussive accompaniment on the sound table.

Construction: The Ardin usually has 11 to 14 strings and has a neck more then 100 cm in length. The neck is inserted into a calabash resonator. The resonator is about 40 cm in diameter. To form the resonator a calabash is stretched over with sheep skin. The strings are attached to a curved wooden rod on the sound table, in which each end of the rod diss appears. The tuning pegs are affixed at the upper end. Circular metal discs with small rings around the edges are fixed to the sound table.

Citations: Bibliography: K. A Gourlay ~ Grove Dictionary ; Eric Charry [2000] Mande Music: Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa. University of Chicago Press. p. 164 – ISBN 9780226101613 ; Websites:


Name: Gravikord.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Bridge > Harp.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 323.5
Inventor: Bob Grawi.
Era: 1986
Country: United States.
Region: North America.

Description: The gravikord is a modern invention being a 24-stringed, electric double bridge-harp invented by Robert Grawi. This invention draws its inspiration from the West African Kora. The intention was to allow for polyrhythmic techniques and cross rhythms to be performed. The gravikord is tuned identically the 21 stringed West African Kora.

Citations: Bibliography: Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments” Second Edition, edited by Laurence Libin, on page 469 ; Websites: Bob Grawi [gravikord.com] ;


Name: Seperewa.
Type: Chordophones > Bridge > Harp.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 323.5
Country: Ghana.
Region: West Africa.

Description: The Seperewa, or Seprewa, Sanku, is a harp-lute played by the Akan people of Ghana. The Seperewa belongs to a class of harp-lute chordophones typical in West Africa. With Ghana marking the easternmost area where harp-lutes are played in the region. The Seperewa is one of two types of harp-lutes played in Ghana, the other being the koriduo. The seperewa normally accompanies “praise singing”.

Etymology: The name of the instrument Seperewa derives from the Akan “se” [talk], pre [a word that describes the strumming of the thumb] and “wa” meaning small. So seperewa roughly translates to “this small instrument that you strum, speaks”.

History: The seperewa can be attested to the as the late 17th century by textual sources. It’s tuning and hand positioning. Strings for the left hand are tuned the first, third and fifth degrees of the scale. While the the right-side string are tuned to the second, fourth and sixth scale degrees. Felicitates the modal harmonic progressions typical of Akan music.

Relatives: Numerous relatives of the kora exist in the harp-lute family. They include Dagaare / Sisaala koriduo, the Mandé kora, the Gere duu and Baoule aloko.

Construction: The seperewa traditionally six playing strings, although it may have up to 14 strings. The instruments components consists of a box that functions as the resonator. A gently curved wooden neck extends upwards from the front of the instrument away from the player. A tall bridge standing vertically from the skin; allows for the strings for the strings to pass through. Nowadays the strings are of nylon and they are tied from the neck and the tail at the back of the resonator.

Citations: Bibliography: Gavin Webb ~ Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary Websites: Oxford Music Online – Gavin Webb, Seperewa article ;