Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 23 19:22:07 UTC 2006

My native, East-Texas word for it is simply "harp." Playing the harp was way
too country for Saint Louis. So, I know only the standard "harmonica" from
there. However, in Los Angeles, there are (or were) black country-music
clubs on the East Side where, once again, the term used was simply "harp."


On 5/23/06, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Harp
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On 5/23/06, Roger Shuy <rshuy at montana.com> wrote:
> >
> > Since I've played one of these instruments in groups over the years, I
> > thought I might leave the shadows and join in. When the members of my
> group
> > are identified to audiences, the usual term to describe what I play is
> > simply "harp." If I had a second choice, it would be "harmonica." To me,
> > "mouth organ" sounds crude or sloppy. I've heard "French harp" from a
> few
> > people the past but it is by far the least common. I think it might be a
> > variant used by some for "jews harp" (also "juice harp," equally crude
> and
> > sloppy sounding).
> A young John Lennon felt the need to correct the host of BBC's "Pop Go
> The Beatles" when said host identified John's "harp"/"mouth organ" as
> a "harmonica":
> -----
> http://www.beatlelinks.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17241
> June 1, 1963 - 1:30 P.M.-5:30 P.M.
> The Beatles
> Interviewed By Lee Peters
> BBC Paris Studio, London, United Kingdom
> Broadcast June 11, 1963, 5:00-5:29 P.M. On BBC Light Programme, Pop Go
> The Beatles #2
> LEE PETERS: There's always too much monkey business on these sessions,
> but now John has his work cut out on the next one, as he takes the
> guitar on and off his neck, and pulls the harmonica in and out of his
> face.
> JOHN: Harp, it's a harp.
> LEE PETERS: What's a harp?
> JOHN: Uh, the harp. I'm playing a harp in this one.
> LEE PETERS: Playing a harp?
> JOHN: Harmonica I play in "Love Me Do", harp in this one, little.
> Mouth organ. Harp.
> -----
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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