Playing the Polly

Polly is a member of the family of instruments known as lamellophones, which are instruments with vibrating tines. The tines are arrayed on both sides of the upright wooden body. The playing position and motions are similar to those of a harp, with Polly positioned at lap-height in front of the sitting player. Each tine has been reshaped to adjust the tuning of the most prominent overtone relative to the fundamental, making a more coherent tone quality. The positioning of the tines is not scale-wise; instead, it’s an unusual sequence that tends to bring out its own characteristic note patterns under the player’s fingers.

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