Mental Floss

Thingamajig Thursday: the harp

David K. Israel

It's a New Year, and our first Thursday! So you know what that means"¦ Today I'm naming that odd thingamajig you find supporting a lampshade. It's called, rather simply, a harp. I couldn't find any special reason why it would be called a harp, other than the obvious, so I figured I'd drop a little knowledge about the origins of the other harp.

Called a kinnor, in Hebrew, the harp, or lyre as it was then referred to, is first mentioned in Genesis 4:21.

And his brother's name was Yuval: he was the father of all such as handle the lyre and pipe.

harpo.jpg /

The Greeks were big on lyres and claim Orpheus as the inventor of the instrument. Whoever invented it, some of the greatest performances, I think, were by none other than Harpo Marx. Go rent Animal Crackers or Monkey Business or just about any of their hilarious films to see what I mean.