You’re probably familiar with the beautiful traditional tune, “Shenandoah.” Though its exact origin is unknown, it may have originated with French Canadian fur traders. Some versions are also linked to cavalry men, mountain men, riverboat men, and soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. Whatever its origins, “Shenandoah” is one of the most recognizable American folk songs.
In this arrangement, I play the melody on my 22-string zither (also called a lap harp or plucked psaltery) and harmony on my 22-string lyre. One instrument for each hand allows free access to all 22 strings.
I’ve heard some beautiful harp arrangements of this song. However, unless it is a large floor harp with 34 strings or more, the hands may run into each other while playing. This is eliminated when each hand has its own full set of strings.
“Shenandoah” is the fifth in my series of
double strung experiments,
preparing for a double strung harp. The harp is the same idea, except it is designed and built with two rows of strings on a single instrument. This means that eventually, I won’t need to hold two instruments on my lap, not to mention trying to tune them in perfect unison!
I hope you enjoy this arrangement, and that you’re having a safe and happy Labor Day!