Displayed in the Museum of the University of St Andrews is a spitzharfe, a German stringed instrument from around the year 1700. It is tucked into a corner of an eclectic display of antiquities, designed to evoke an old-fashioned “cabinet of curiosities”.
I looked at this instrument as soon as the museum opened some years ago but I never paid too much attention to it. However starting in May 2013 I have been trying to find out about the history and music of this instrument. I have been loaned a spitzharfe (a simplified modern copy) by Angeline Peh, M.Litt student in the University of St Andrews, which has given me a much more subtle insight into the complexities of the instrument’s design and use.
Simon Chadwick, St Andrews, Scotland.