Hybrid Instruments
17.jul 2020

Álea de Almeida (2016)


Some instruments are so popular that they do not need an introduction. This is the case of the guitar, the piano and the harp. However it is not always easy to identify an instrument with the utmost certainty. This is the case of the instrument alongside. Would you say it is a piano? Or a harp?


Piano Harpa

Piano Harp

It is a piano-harp, an instrument in the shape of a harp having strings activated by a keyboard. This instrument was invented in the XVIIth century in Spain by Juan Hidalgo, but only gained prominence and greater use during the XIXth century, when Johann Christian Dietz started manufacturing and presenting his piano-harps. The piano-harp shown in this picture was produced by Dietz during the XIXth century and it is a sample belonging to the Belgian Museum of Musical Instruments, located in Brussels.


Another hybrid that is quite interesting is the harp-guitar, a guitar that has extra strings which float in the air, that is, they are not stretched on an arm or any other surface. The instrument may have from one to twelve extra strings and there are many different ways to hold the strings. Alongside we  can see a picture of a harp-guitar, perhaps more of a harp than a guitar, below another one, this time more of a guitar than a harp.


Violão Harpa

Harp guitar


Violão Harpa

Harp guitar

We have a hybrid in the MVIM collection also, it is a banduvitarra [link] that we see in the picture below. The instrument is a mixture of the guitar and the cittern families, it was made in Brazil in 1912.





There are “Siamese” instruments as well, there is, the ones that come into being when two equal instruments are combined. Below there is a picture of a double harp, instrument made from two harps and another sample found at the MVIM, the double guitar [link]


Violão de dois braços

Double guitar


Harpa dupla

Double harp




Grove Music Online: http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/public/book/omo_gmo

Imagem piano harpa: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xian_kath/3224381387/

Imagem violão harpa 1: http://www.harpguitars.net/history/org/org-related.htm

Imagem violão harpa 2: http://www.mimo-international.com/MIMO/

Imagem harpa dupla: http://nmmusd.org/