Dacotah Prairie Museum

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Piano Harp

piano harp

  This particular piano harp is among the rarest in the United States. Called a Mackenzie Piano Harp, it was manufactured in 1875 by a young man from St. Paul, Minnesota, named James A. Mackenzie. It is one of only about thirty known to be in existence today. The piano harp is played by striking the strings with small wooden hammers, giving off a sound very similar to a regular piano. The term “piano harp” gained popularity in the Victorian Era; the instrument is more commonly known as a Hammered Dulcimer. Use of the piano harp began to decrease in the early 1900s as parlor music gave way to the music hall, and the music hall gave way to the cinema and radio.

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