International Jews Harp Society


You are visiting our brand-new website of the international organisation representing people interested in the jews harp ( jaw harp / mouth harp). 

You may browse freely but some parts are only available to paid IJHS members.

You may wish to join the IJHS by using the links at the bottom of most pages.

IJHS members receive newsletters and access to a growing library of back-issues of various publications and associated articles, along with expanded media and links sections. 

Please read the joining process here: Join

 Personally, I had the luck of being at the right time at the right place for my introduction to this wonderful instrument. In 1991 I was in Yakutsk / Far East of Russia and had an Austrian Maultrommel (jaw harp) in my pocket, right at the time of the 2nd International Jew’s Harp Festival-Congress. I made great connections there and my dream of organizing something similar in Austria came true in 1998 in Molln / Austria, because time was ripe in Austria for a Maultrommel-renaissance. During this Festival-Congress we established the International Jews Harp Society (IJHS), and I have held the honour of being it’s President ever since. Because the jew's harp world still is widely spread between East and West, my language skills in English as well as Russian (neither being my mother-tongue) are very useful.


Since establishing the IJHS in 1998, we have initiated and supported the implementation of five international festivals, albeit with larger gaps between them than we would prefer. We have published 14 Newsletters with news from around the jews harp world, and we have published 9 Journals with scientific articles on jews harp related matters. Additionally we established a website, which this version is the latest up-date which we hope will bring many more modern features and gather more participants.


Generally, the year 2016 sees some big changes for the IJHS: the launch of the new website, a new marketing-strategy, and legal foundations for our IJHS. But these points are not the main reason for being or becoming a member of this society. I myself have two main reasons for still loving to work for this group of people:


It is this incredible instrument, whose possibilities are still in the process of being discovered and understood, be it in its musical, historic, spiritual or therapeutic aspects... and it is the people who love this instrument. In this regard, I would like to quote the founder of the IJHF (Fred Crane) in the journal VIM 2 (1985), p.86. What he said after having initiated and organized the 1st IJHF in Iowa City, USA is still true today:


"The Jew’s harp fans who registered were not large in number, but what a fantastic group of people! (...) Whenever I think of this group of people, amazement strikes again. Strong personalities were in abundance –people of the most diverse accomplishments and occupations, scholars and performers, Jew’s harp makers and collectors, and all of them (corny though it be to say it) damned nice people. I stop short of attributing supernatural powers to the Jew’s harp, but there is something mysterious about it that has its most potent effect on persons that are of the larger-than-life kind.”


I guess you, dear reader, are also one of them.

Franz Kumpl

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