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Musical Instruments

Single action harp

Key data


attributed to Georges Cousineau, Paris, 1775 85

Compass 38 strings (El g3)

seven pedals (left A, G, F, E, right D, C, B)

sound box pine and maple, painted black; tuning pegs, pedals and mechanism iron

strings, gut

overall height 161.5 cm, width 40 cm, depth 79.5 cm

Inv. 1956.542.


Many details of the construction, of the execution of the carved neck spiral and of the painting of the post and sound box indicate that the harp was built between 1775 and 1785 by the important Parisian harp maker Georges Cousineau (1733-1800). At that time Paris was a center of harp playing. In a single action pedal harp only one position is provided for each pedal, not two as in the more recent double action pedal harp or in modern concert harps. The same notes in the different octaves are each assigned to one pedal, and are mechanically interconnected. By pressing down the pedal the string concerned is raised by a semitone, enlarging the range of the instrument to the chromatics.

Selection of similar objects


Basel Historical Museum
Management & administration
Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00

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