The Harp & Hobbit - harps of Middle Earth
harps of Middle Earth *** harp lore *** asni's artwork *** music *** harp links *** shop *** contact *** asni home *** The Harp & Hobbit
The Dwarves seem to have developed their harp- building skills independently from the Elves – it may be that Aule himself taught them the skill.
In constrast to the light and elegant Elven harps, the harps of the Dwarves usually consist of a simple, rather heavy wooden frame – strong and sturdy enough to support the tension of metal strings. Usually, the harps are strung with silver, though other metals (such as bronze) are used as well. Most harps are richly ornamented with gold or silver, and studded with jewels and colourful stones. The metal ornaments also serve to keep the woodwork from coming apart – the soundbox is usually held together by some form of metal netting, which prevents the soundboard from being torn off by the tension of the strings. To compensate for the resulting stiffness and loss of resonance, Dwarven harps usually have a row of seven sound holes on each side of the soundboard.
The sound of the Dwarven harps is clear and sweet and somewhat bell-like – quite unlike any other harps in Middle Earth. They do not offer much scope for dynamics or expression, but are well-suited for the stirring, somewhat monotonous songs of the Dwarves, and they blend well with their deep voices.
Harps are frequently mentioned in Dwarven poetry, such as the famous Song of Durin. Thorin Oakenshield was a renowned harper, and so were his kinsmen Fili and Kili. Famous was the hoard of magical harps in the Dwarf City under the Lonely Mountain – these harps were said to never go out of tune.
© 2002, 2003, 2004 Asni
design and realisation © Asni
all artwork, photos and photo art, unless otherwise marked, © Asni
last updated: 18 March, 2004