How to Make a Wind Aeolian Harp

Written by athena murphy
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How to Make a Wind Aeolian Harp
Harps produce resonance in the air around the string as it vibrates. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Harnessing the power of wind to make music has ancient origins, noted in myths and antique arts. Australian aborigines utilised its mysterious tones for spiritual rituals. The modern popular version, the wind harp, dates to 19th century England. Poets noted its haunting emotional quality. Wind harps range in size from small units that fit in a window up to large, multistory outdoor installations. The harp's basic structure allows the wind to pass through strings or metal rods. The wind hits the string or metal surface and produces sonic reverberations.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Drill with 1/4-inch wood bit
  • Pencil or marker
  • Rectangular Wooden picture frame, 12-inch-by-15-inch or larger
  • Six nylon guitar strings
  • Six "3-per-side" Classical guitar tuners on metal mount with mounting screws
  • Phillips-head jeweller's screwdriver
  • Six drawing pins
  • Digital guitar tuner or pitch pipe

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  1. 1

    Turn the picture frame so the flat back surface faces you. Position the frame with the short lengths at the top and bottom. Place the guitar tuner's metal mounts left to right across the top of the rectangle on the flat surface facing you.

  2. 2

    Mark the centre of each tuner on the wood. Drill holes through the frame at each of the six marks. Place the tuners through the holes. Screw the mounts onto the back of the frame.

  3. 3

    Turn the frame around so the front faces you. Knot each guitar string approximately 3 inches from one end. Place the other end of each string through a tuner.

  4. 4

    Grasp the string on the left. Hold it taut. Pull the string down past the bottom edge of the frame. Push a thumb tack partially into the wood directly next to the string. Tie the string tightly around the thumb tack post. Push the tack as far into the wood until the tack base rests on the string knot. Repeat with the other five strings.

  5. 5

    Tune the strings to your desired pitches.

  6. 6

    Place the harp in the wind.

Tips and warnings

  • Any setting with access to wind and free space around the harp works as long as the harp rests on a steady mount. Consider how you want the harp held in place and where it can rest undisturbed or agitated.

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