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Dital harp

Plucked stringed instrument in the shape of a combined lute-harp, with vaulted-back, round soundbox and harp-like column and neck. Raised fingerboard on neck with ivory/bone frets. Nineteen gut strings, of which thirteen are stopped by spring-loaded brass push studs. Square-shaped brass tuning pins. Slanted bridge with ivory/bone saddle and ebony pins. Oval-shaped, carved pedestal base. This hybrid instrument was one of Edward Light's early 19th century developments, combining elements of the then highly popular harp and English guitar (guittar), and intended as a new "improved" parlor instrument. By "dital" is meant a finger?key (in this case the studs) that would raise the pitch of a string by a semitone. This instrument is part of the Albert C. Spencer collection.

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  • Decorative elements:The whole is painted dark green and decorated with golden-colored foliage decoration. Fluted column.
  • Inscriptions:Gold-painted on top of pillar: E. Light's Patent Dital Harp / No. 363 / 4 Gt. Quebec St. / New Road / London|Push stud notes painted on back: E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.
  • Hornbostel-Sachs category:321.322-5 Necked box lutes or necked guitars sounded by the bare fingers
  • Repository:Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton
  • Measurements:Height: 885mm; Width: 355mm; Depth: 130mm