The Science of Harp Making

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Table of contents :
Air Resonances in the Harp (Eyster) ……………………….5
Computer Programming for String Layout (Culotta) ……….7
Computer String Program (Bolles)…………………………10
Glitter Testing – I (Eyster)……………………………….…13
Glitter Testing – II (Eyster)………………………………....16
Harpmaker and Computer (Bolles)…………………………20
Harpmaker’s Notebook -1 (Bolles)………………………....27
2…………………………………..34
3…………………………………..37
4…………………………………..42
5…………………………………..46
6…………………………………..52
7…………………………………..56
8…………………………………..60
9…………………………………..64
10…………………………………69
11………………………………....74
12………………………………....79
Inharmonicity (Bolles)……………………………………....86
Making a Harp Soundboard (Stone)………………………...91
Making Gut Strings (R.Robinson)…………………………..94
More on Strings (R.Robsinson)……………………………..95
Sharping Lever Systems (B.Robinson)……………………..98
Soundboard Vacuum Chuck (Dunn)……………………….100
String Layout & Tonality (Cunningham)…………………..101
String Machine Revised (Bolles)..…………………………103
String Slide Rule (B.Robinson)……………………………108
String Tension Measurement (Bell)………………………..109
Stringband Evaluation 1 (Jourdain)………………………..110
2……………………………………112
3……………………………………116
4……………………………………119
5……………………………………123
6……………………………………126
7……………………………………128
8……………………………………132
9……………………………………135
10…………………………………..137
Strings 1 (B.Robinson)………………………………….....139
Strings 2 (B.Robinson)…………………………………….146
Strings 3 (B.Robinson)…………………………………….150
Tuning Pins and their Holes (Stone)………………………153
Articles listed by Author
Page #
Bell, Stephen
String Tension Measurement…………………109
Bolles, Mark
Computer String Program…………………….10
Harpmaker and Computer………….................20
Harpmakers Notebook 1……………………...27
2.…………………......34
3.…………………......37
4.…………………......42
5.…………………......46
6.…………………......52
7.…………………......56
8.…………………......60
9.…………………......64
10.…………................69
11………………….....74
12.…………................79
Inharmonicity…………………………………86
String Machine Revised……………………...103
Culotta, Paul
Computer Programming for String Layout……7
Cunningham, Robert
String Layout and Tonality…………………...101
Dunn, Richard
Soundboard Vacuum Chuck………………….100
Eyster, Jason
Air Resonances in the Harp…………………...4
Glitter Testing – I…………………………......13
Glitter Testing – II…………………………....16
Jourdain, Joseph
Stringband Evaluation 1……………………...110
2……………………...112
3……………………...116
4……………………...119
5……………………...123
6……………………...126
7……………………...128
8……………………...132
9……………………...135
10…………………….137
Stone, Hilliard
Making a Harp Soundboard…………………...91
Tuning Pins and their Holes…………………..153
Robinson, Bruce
Sharping Lever Systems………………………98
Strings – 1……………………………………..139
Strings – 2……………………………………..146
Strings – 3……………………………………..150
Robinson, Robbie
Making Gut Strings……………………………94
More on Strings………………………………..95
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The Science of Harp Making A collection of articles from back issues of the Folk Harp Journal On the topic of applying math and physics to the design of the harp

Scanned and compiled for the ISFHC in January, 2007 by Jerry Brown Musicmakers PO Box 2117 Stillwater, MN 55082 USA www.harpkit.com (651) 439-9120

INTRODUCTION As the newly appointed Resource Librarian of the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen (ISFHC), I am maintaining a file cabinet that contains one copy of every back issue of the Folk harp Journal, dating back to June, 1973. It is a complete collection of Journals, and most are in very good condition. In 2006, the ISFHC Board of Directors voted to “go digital” with these archives in order to eliminate the high cost (over $150 per month) of storing multiple hard copies of these magazines in a public storage facility. One idea was to scan every page of every magazine and organize them into compilations by topic. The more I thought about this gigantic task, however, and the more I flipped through some of these old publications, the more excited I became about helping people “mine” the treasures housed in these archives in a more convenient way. I thought it might be better to organize these valuable articles by category rather than by publication date (issue). That way, a person interested in, say Mark Bolles’ wonderful series called the Harpmaker’s Notebook, would only need to purchase this one compilation instead of all 12 different issues in which those articles were published. Hence, this first compilation. I cannot tell you how pleased I am to re-publish these technical writings in a compilation format. These are the very articles I pored over when I wrote my manual, “Folk Harp Design and Construction”, back in the Spring of 2003. Better yet, these are the articles that have spurred enormous improvements in the art and science of harp making over the past 30+ years. This particular collection is called the “Science of Harp Making” because these articles are written by people who are able to apply math and physics to the field of instrument building. You’ll find not only Mark Bolles’ humorous and insightful collection, but also contributions from Joseph Jourdain, Jason Eyster, Robbie and Bruce Robinson, and more. If you are a scientist or mathematician, you are in for a real treat. I hope you find this collection to be useful in your own instrument-making ventures. For instant string analysis on your computer, look for the String Analysis Spreadsheets at www.harpkit.com. A retired engineer has put the math from some of these FHJ articles into a slick program, using Microsoft Excel to make all the calculations for you. You’ll find this free download under the “Library” tab along the left column of the web site.

Jerry Brown Resource Librarian

PS. For easy navigation to the articles on this compilation, I have made each line on the Table of Contents into a clickable link to the article. To return to the Table of Contents quickly, open the “Bookmarks” tab on the left and click “Table of Contents”.

Table of Contents (If you click the bookmarks tab on the left you will also find a bookmark for each article) Articles listed by Article Title (author) Page # Air Resonances in the Harp (Eyster) ……………………….5 Computer Programming for String Layout (Culotta) ……….7 Computer String Program (Bolles)…………………………10 Glitter Testing – I (Eyster)……………………………….…13 Glitter Testing – II (Eyster)………………………………....16 Harpmaker and Computer (Bolles)…………………………20 Harpmaker’s Notebook -1 (Bolles)………………………....27 2…………………………………..34 3…………………………………..37 4…………………………………..42 5…………………………………..46 6…………………………………..52 7…………………………………..56 8…………………………………..60 9…………………………………..64 10…………………………………69 11………………………………....74 12………………………………....79 Inharmonicity (Bolles)……………………………………....86 Making a Harp Soundboard (Stone)………………………...91 Making Gut Strings (R.Robinson)…………………………..94 More on Strings (R.Robsinson)……………………………..95 Sharping Lever Systems (B.Robinson)……………………..98 Soundboard Vacuum Chuck (Dunn)……………………….100 String Layout & Tonality (Cunningham)…………………..101 String Machine Revised (Bolles)..…………………………103 String Slide Rule (B.Robinson)……………………………108 String Tension Measurement (Bell)………………………..109 Stringband Evaluation 1 (Jourdain)………………………..110 2……………………………………112 3……………………………………116 4……………………………………119 5……………………………………123 6……………………………………126 7……………………………………128 8……………………………………132 9……………………………………135 10…………………………………..137 Strings 1 (B.Robinson)………………………………….....139 Strings 2 (B.Robinson)…………………………………….146 Strings 3 (B.Robinson)…………………………………….150 Tuning Pins and their Holes (Stone)………………………153

Articles listed by Author Page # Bell, Stephen String Tension Measurement…………………109 Bolles, Mark Computer String Program…………………….10 Harpmaker and Computer………….................20 Harpmakers Notebook 1……………………...27 2.…………………......34 3.…………………......37 4.…………………......42 5.…………………......46 6.…………………......52 7.…………………......56 8.…………………......60 9.…………………......64 10.…………................69 11………………….....74 12.…………................79 Inharmonicity…………………………………86 String Machine Revised……………………...103 Culotta, Paul Computer Programming for String Layout……7 Cunningham, Robert String Layout and Tonality…………………...101 Dunn, Richard Soundboard Vacuum Chuck………………….100 Eyster, Jason Air Resonances in the Harp…………………...4 Glitter Testing – I…………………………......13 Glitter Testing – II…………………………....16 Jourdain, Joseph Stringband Evaluation 1……………………...110 2……………………...112 3……………………...116 4……………………...119 5……………………...123 6……………………...126 7……………………...128 8……………………...132 9……………………...135 10…………………….137 Stone, Hilliard Making a Harp Soundboard…………………...91 Tuning Pins and their Holes…………………..153 Robinson, Bruce Sharping Lever Systems………………………98 Strings – 1……………………………………..139 Strings – 2……………………………………..146 Strings – 3……………………………………..150 Robinson, Robbie Making Gut Strings……………………………94 More on Strings………………………………..95

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