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For a Rare Discarded Harp, a Chance to Sing Again
The New York Times ^ | 9 Aug 2009 | COLIN MOYNIHAN

Posted on 08/10/2009 7:20:31 AM PDT by BGHater

To a certain type of New Yorker,every Dumpster is a potential treasure chest,right up there with thrift stores and stoop sales.

But if the scavenger gods offer only a finite number of prizes, Julie Finch might have claimed one of them.

Last month Ms. Finch stood on her toes to peer into the Dumpster outside her building on West 26th Street and found a blue wooden harp distinguished mainly by caked layers of grime and dust and a snarl of broken strings.

“It was this old thing with wires going in all directions,” she said.“It didn’t look like anything anybody could play.”

Still, as a lover of found objects, Ms. Finch felt duty bound to take the harp home. She offered it to a neighbor whose brother is a composer, but the man’s wife objected after seeing its sorry condition. So Ms. Finch used wood-floor soap to clean the harp and discovered not only clusters of hand-painted gold shamrocks climbing the column and soundboard,but a brass plaque bearing the name of the instrument’s maker,John Egan, and an address on Dawson Road in Dublin.

Egan, who is thought to have made instruments from the late 1700s until about 1840, is seen by many as the father of the modern Irish harp. In the 19th century his instruments were used by nationalist balladeers, like the poet Thomas Moore, who wrote “The Harp that Once Through Tara’s Halls.” Today universities and museums collect them.

“The ancient Irish harp tradition, which goes back to medieval times, was dying out around 1800,” Simon Chadwick, honorary secretary of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland, wrote in an e-mail message.

Lorcan Otway with a 19th-century harp that was found in a Dumpster. He plans to have it restored by an expert in London.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: History; Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: egan; godsgravesglyphs; harp; ireland; music

1 posted on 08/10/2009 7:20:33 AM PDT by BGHater
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To: BGHater

There’s a special place in perdition for anybody who would throw out such a lovely thing. Good grief! Might as well chuck a Strad in the dumpster. Even if the soundboard is split it’s still worth restoring.


2 posted on 08/10/2009 7:32:09 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chasse - TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: BGHater

I have a cherished French Horn(really good one with hardshell case) I found at a Goodwill Store.


3 posted on 08/10/2009 7:32:28 AM PDT by norraad ("What light!">Blues Brothers)
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To: AnAmericanMother
I am sure that in Heaven, the angels play the Irish harp. I hear the thing and it brings tears to my eyes. Lovely.
4 posted on 08/10/2009 7:33:31 AM PDT by SMARTY ("Stay together, pay the soldiers and forget everything else" Lucius Septimus Severus)
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To: SMARTY

I have a little Irish lap harp. It isn’t really Irish - it was made here locally by a luthier, it’s a pretty little thing and has a lovely sound.


5 posted on 08/10/2009 7:35:16 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chasse - TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: BGHater

Fascinating story....

The Chelsea area in NYC was a big Irish settlement in the mid to late 1800s. I know, because my ancestors lived a block away from where they found that harp (West 25th street, between 8th and 9th avenue).

I wonder if the harp was a relic of those times and was brought over during the famine migration that filled up the area, and who threw it out (and what other treasures of that time may have ended up in a dumpster).

Lq


6 posted on 08/10/2009 7:36:51 AM PDT by LizardQueen (The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.)
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To: Cailleach

ping


7 posted on 08/10/2009 7:39:40 AM PDT by kalee (01/20/13 The end of an error.... Obama even worse than Carter.)
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To: BGHater; sionnsar

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Thanks BGHater!
...Ms. Finch used wood-floor soap to clean the harp and discovered not only clusters of hand-painted gold shamrocks climbing the column and soundboard,but a brass plaque bearing the name of the instrument's maker,John Egan, and an address on Dawson Road in Dublin. Egan, who is thought to have made instruments from the late 1700s until about 1840, is seen by many as the father of the modern Irish harp. In the 19th century his instruments were used by nationalist balladeers, like the poet Thomas Moore... "The ancient Irish harp tradition, which goes back to medieval times, was dying out around 1800," Simon Chadwick, honorary secretary of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland, wrote...
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


8 posted on 08/10/2009 7:42:23 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: LizardQueen

A little bit of history.


9 posted on 08/10/2009 7:42:42 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: BGHater

I am not a musician or a dumpster diver but I would have rescued that harp in a second! What a find!


10 posted on 08/10/2009 7:44:04 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: AnAmericanMother
You're a harper? Somehow it seems that I knew it all along....

Yeah, me too, btw.

11 posted on 08/10/2009 7:54:48 AM PDT by thulldud (It HAS happened here!)
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To: BGHater

What a great story. Wish they would have posted a sound bite with it.


12 posted on 08/10/2009 7:58:09 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: BGHater; SunkenCiv

Noo Yawkers are so friggin' cosmopolitan...

13 posted on 08/10/2009 7:58:32 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: thulldud
I just play at it. I'm primarily a singer and keyboardist (piano and harpsichord), the harp is just for fun and to accompany singing. (It is fun to sing in Gaelic, albeit Scots Gaelic, to the harp.)

What sort of harp do you play? Mine's a little 22 string lap harp, with sharping levers (thank goodness!)

14 posted on 08/10/2009 8:04:19 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother
What sort of harp do you play? Mine's a little 22 string lap harp, with sharping levers (thank goodness!)

Mine is a 31 string Cunningham. Had it since 1989, but have only been playing since 1996.

thulldud the harper

15 posted on 08/10/2009 8:26:18 AM PDT by thulldud (It HAS happened here!)
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To: BGHater
NYC trash can make for some interesting finds! HOORAY for the West Side!

HOMELESS GUY FINDS Freedom Tower PLANS IN A CAN

Painting Found in New York City Garbage Could Sell for $1 Million

16 posted on 08/10/2009 8:26:18 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: martin_fierro
Wow.

What a amazing contrast!

One guy is wearing headphones and is trying to ignore the world. While the other man, notice's the beauty of the Harp, by keeping his eyes and ‘ears’ open.

17 posted on 08/10/2009 8:27:00 AM PDT by BGHater (Insanity is voting for Republicans and expecting Conservatism.)
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To: Ditter
A good harp these days is hard to find...


18 posted on 08/10/2009 8:30:24 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: BGHater
This is a lovely story and I've alread sent it to other music and Irish musid enthusiasts. Thanks for posting.

If you go here: Link

There are thumbnail pictures, including close-ups of the painting and workmanship. Click to enlarge. Enjoy.

19 posted on 08/10/2009 8:40:02 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: norraad

I have a baby grand piano I bought from an old guy. It’s an antique that I had restored(inside not out). It was costly but was well worth the money.


20 posted on 08/10/2009 8:43:01 AM PDT by KYGrandma
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To: afraidfortherepublic

alread=already
musid=music

Back for more coffee.

And for the poster lamenting obout the person who threw it out — the owner had DIED. It was part of a collection of antique instruments at a music business. It wasn’t taken when the business moved. People cleaning out the business discarded it.


21 posted on 08/10/2009 8:44:14 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: thulldud
OK, this is too funny! Robert Cunningham made my harp too, when he had the Musikworks store on Euclid in Little Five Points (my mom's a professional dancer and worked in the theater in the same building).

Small world (I guess it's not too surprising, there are not a lot of harp makers around!) Next you're going to tell me you have a harpsichord made by the chiropractor in Acworth? (I don't know if he's a good chiropractor but he IS a darn good harpsichord maker. Our church music director, who is something of a harpsichord expert even though his doctorate from Juilliard is in organ performance, says it's one of the best he's ever played.)

22 posted on 08/10/2009 8:49:34 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: afraidfortherepublic
People cleaning out the business discarded it.

No excuse. The people cleaning it out should be keel hauled (or forced to listen to Marty Haugen music for days on end).

23 posted on 08/10/2009 8:51:59 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

How interesting! My ministry coordinator, the Spanish battleax (that’s a compliment), played the Celtic and floor harp, piano, accordian, and organ. When we helped her move last year, she still had a small Irish harp that she was taking with her to her daughter’s spare room.


24 posted on 08/10/2009 8:52:59 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Good intentions mean nothing. Incentives and constraints mean everything.)
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To: KYGrandma

We have a 1918 grand piano (not sure it’s a baby grand - it’s a 5’8”) that my parents had restored. As you say, well worth it, it’s better than anything you can buy today.


25 posted on 08/10/2009 8:53:23 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Tax-chick
No battleaxe like a Spanish battleaxe!

If you're musically inclined, the instruments DO seem to sort of accumulate. Just thinking aloud here, we have the piano, the harpsichord, the lap harp, too many guitars to count (electric, steel string, and classical), about 25 pennywhistles, two clarinets, a flute, gongs, cowbells, tambourines, claves . . . . sheesh! we can really make a racket here!)

26 posted on 08/10/2009 8:57:11 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

In today’s terms, it isn’t a baby grand. They have down-sized everything. A grand usually meant one the size of a concert grand, which mine isn’t. It’s 6 ft long.


27 posted on 08/10/2009 9:37:29 AM PDT by KYGrandma
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To: KYGrandma

That’s excellent. It’s hard to get good bass sound in anything shorter than a 5’7” (although I used to have a Sohmer that had terrific bass). Even then it really depends on the quality of the maker.


28 posted on 08/10/2009 9:53:59 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Tax-chick
I forgot the dulcimer, the autoharp, and TWO fiddles!

(they must have sneaked in while I wasn't looking).

29 posted on 08/10/2009 3:47:45 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: La Lydia

http://www.hurrellharp.com/historicharp.htm Here is a link to Nancy Hurrell playing an Egan harp, Endearing Young Charms. It is a very appropriate tune, as Thomas Moore (who wrote the song) had an Egan, very like mine.
All the best
Lorcan Otway


30 posted on 08/10/2009 5:42:18 PM PDT by LorcanOtway (Link to a sound bite for an Egan "Portable" harp)
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To: AnAmericanMother

Animals do that at my house!


31 posted on 08/10/2009 5:54:33 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Good intentions mean nothing. Incentives and constraints mean everything.)
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To: LorcanOtway

Thank you so much. That is lovely.


32 posted on 08/10/2009 6:10:22 PM PDT by La Lydia
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To: Tax-chick
They do that here too. I draw the line at rats.

There was noise abroad of a yellow Lab female, but the owner of the bitch hadn't had the mother tested for EIC (which my poor Ruby has!) so I chickened out. I'll wait for a thoroughly tested pup.

I discovered that a full brother of my Shelley the Star is intact and will probably be bred. I already put my name in the hat!

33 posted on 08/10/2009 6:26:47 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

Great! I hope you get a good healthy puppy!

We took our dragons to the herpet-vet yesterday. Slash has been acting poorly, but the vet said he’s fine. It is winter in Australia, after all.

The boys are saying we should get a female *now* if we want to breed Santana next year. I suppose I should look into it before they all go to (local) winter snoozies.


34 posted on 08/11/2009 3:17:05 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Good intentions mean nothing. Incentives and constraints mean everything.)
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To: LorcanOtway

Very pretty. Tom Moore is a hardy perennial. It sounds like a gut (nylon) strung harp - the sound seems a little constricted but that may be the miking. Do these harps typically have a big or a small room sound?


35 posted on 08/11/2009 6:34:17 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Tax-chick
I'm glad you have a herpet-vet! I have a feeling that my straight-ahead, dog-and-cat vet would have a cow - or at least kittens!

She's very good with dogs and cats though. She has looked after kitties for me since 1978, and since she competes her own dogs in agility, she has a good feel for the needs of athletic dogs (as opposed to couch potatoes). And my dogs LOVE to go to the vet (mostly because the pockets of her coat are full of treats!)

36 posted on 08/11/2009 6:36:17 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

We had to find the herpet-vet in a hurry, when Santana bit Slash’s foot off a year ago. He also treats mammals, but we have a more convenient vet for the warm-blooded pets.

He said our dragons look really good. They’re growing in popularity, but their care still involves a lot of trial and error, unfortunately.


37 posted on 08/11/2009 7:29:23 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Good intentions mean nothing. Incentives and constraints mean everything.)
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To: Tax-chick
YIKES! to paraphrase Monty Python - "bit off? COMPLETELY?" And I thought the occasional stitch when the girls get too rowdy was pretty bad.

Miss Ruby was spayed last Friday, our vet just got a laparascope and was doing a special deal -- lap spay for the price of a conventional spay. So Miss Ruby got a bargain and a mere 1 1/2" incision (quick healing), but thinking of all the money I saved, I had a lap gastropexy done while they had her knocked out - so I didn't save any money and Ruby has TWO 1 1/2" incisions - oh well! At least I don't have to worry about GDV if she bloats.

38 posted on 08/11/2009 7:47:32 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

Yes, bit off completely. Left rear foot. They’re both males, you see.

Slash gets along fine as an amputee, once we got them separate cages. It just slows down his tunnelling, having only one rear foot.


39 posted on 08/11/2009 8:12:33 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Good intentions mean nothing. Incentives and constraints mean everything.)
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To: Tax-chick
Yeah, I can see that. Two of my pro trainer's male dogs were waltzing around sporting staples and stitches because they got into it over a female in season. BAD dogs!

(Ruby is - I guess I should say was - completely oblivious to the advances of the boys even when in standing heat. On the other hand, Shelley who was spayed at 7 months is a shameless flirt - she is known as "the Pole Dancer" or by even ruder names.)

40 posted on 08/11/2009 8:27:19 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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