Spitz

          Harfe

    Arpanetta

Names for the instrument

The instrument can be called a number of names; in English it is usually called either spitzharfe or arpanetta.

Spitzharfe (German, ‘pointed harp’)
Variant spellings: Spitz Harfe, Spizharfe, Spitsharfe
Danish: Spidsharfe
Arpanetta (Italian, ‘little harp’)
variant spellings: arpanette
German: Harpanetta, Harfenetgen, Harffenetgen.
Tischharfe (German, ‘table harp’)
Flügelharfe (German: ‘wing harp’)
Zwitscherharfe (German: ‘twittering harp’)
Variant spellings: Switscherharfe
Drahtharfe (German: ‘wire harp’)

The most bizarre name given to this instrument is Irländische Harfe, found in two German encyclopedias from 1827 and 1837. The instrument was falling out of use at this time, and the compilers of these listings may well have been collating information uncritically from many sources, hence making errors. It may however be worth keeping an eye out for perceived connections between the wire-strung spitzharfe played with long fingernails, and the similarly wire-strung Irish harp played with nails.

Next: Stringing and setup...

Simon Chadwick, St Andrews, Scotland.
June 2013