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Dario Pontiggia

After degree in Industrial Design at Politecnico of Milan, he specialized in guitars and ancient harps rebuilding. From 2006 he’s been studying and rebuilding the Barberini harp and also Medieval, Renaissance and Welsh triple harp. His harps are used by professionals in Europe, USA and Japan.

Now he works on the Louis XVI pedalharp after Beat Wolf.

» www.dariopontiggia.com
Peter Demmerle

I have given up my studies of natural sciences to favour instrument making. I opened my own studio in Schaffhausen in 1998. There I built successfully harps after my own design, hurdy-gurdies and steel-stringed guitars. In the last few years I restored and revised original harps more often.

I am happy to follow the footsteps of Beat Wolf.

» www.tuggi.ch

The original harps (as well as their replicas) provide a clear and powerful sound even with their very light string tension. Thus allows a relaxed fingering and is balm for people who need or want to protect their finger joints. In addition the narrow string spacing facilitates the fingering and playing in octaves is easy for small hands without any overstretching.

Even people with fine finger structure or after having hand injuries play the historical harps effortlessly. Brisk and sparkling passages can be played very quickly without effort and thereby the articulation is precise and clear. This fact is amazing even for virtuoso players who are normally familiar with modern concert harps.

As a comparison: a concert harp keeps a total string tension of about 1'100 kp. On a historical single-action harp this is between 250 and 400 kp depending on age and type. The octave-spacing c° - c1 is about 112 mm on concert harps, but only 92 to 100 mm on historical harps. 

Single Action Harp (Louis XVI-Harp)




Single action harp: Louis XVI harp

Handmade facsimile of a French pedal harp after 18th century masters as Naderman, Renault & Chatelain, Cousineau and others. This type of the early pedalharp reached its highest reputation in Paris (Marie-Antoinette) and is suited for a wide repertoire reaching from Krumpholtz and Cardon up to Rameau and Spohr. Mozart has written his fl/hp-concerto for this type of single action harp.

The original single action crotchet system (“à crochets”) gives the authentic prerequisite to 18th century playing techniques. The tone is full and warm with clear, brilliant voicing, excellent timbre.

39 gut strings F1 - bb3 (415 / 430 / 440 Hz). Hight 167 cm; 15 kg.
On request: painted sound board.


Sound samples:


» Masumi NAGASAWA plays Rameau mp3



» DVD: Building a Louis XVI-Harp


Music and tutors for single-action harps:

» S-A-Harp Music   pdf


NEW: After my retirement the construction of the Louis XVI-Harp is now taken over by DARIO PONTIGGIA, Milan:

»  www.dariopontiggia.com

Gothic Harp



Gothic Harp: These harps are found in numerous iconographic sources around 1500 (this type of harp should be named correctly "Renaissance harp with Gothic shape"). This model is built closely after the “Nuremberg” type. The slim body is hollowed out of one piece of maple or cherry wood.

The short lute-like tone is typical of the period. By adjusting the bray-pins the Gothic harp obtains a characteristic timbre, so that it marks clearly in a Renaissance consort. On the diatonic instrument the semitones can be reached by appropriate tuning or by "squeezing" the string with the thumb nail.

26 gut strings. Hight 110 cm; weight 2,5 kg.
Various tunings and pitches, 415, 440, 466 Hz. (common example: G – d3 at 440 Hz).

Sound samples:

» mp3: N. LLOPIS played without bray-pins

» mp3: A. VOLLENWEIDER played with bray-pins


MARTA GRAZIOLINO playing with the group TETRAKTYS:


NEW: After my retirement the construction of the Gothic Harp is now taken over by PETER DEMMERLE, Schaffhausen:

» www.tuggi.ch

Small Harp - Lever Harp




Small Harp made after hook harps from around 1800 in late Baroque style with a body-shell made of seven ribs, spruce soundboard. Bright, powerful tone and very warm timbre. As a lever harp it is equipped with modern semitone levers by CAMAC, thus it is equally suitable for professionals and pretentious amateurs for multifarious purposes. Today such a harp is often (but incorrectly) called Celtic Harp.

I make this successful model in three different styles: French with a scroll, in Italian elegancy or in German style. Equipped with historical hooks on request.

34 gut strings C - a3 (415 or 440 Hz). Height 146 cm. Weight 7,5 kg.


NEW: After my retirement the construction of the Small Harp is now taken over by PETER DEMMERLE, Schaffhausen: 

» www.tuggi.ch