Discovery Channel U.K. has a video series called How Do They Do It? and on a recent episode they paid a visit to a factory that makes harp strings — out of animal intestines.
For ages, catgut (dried, twisted animal intestines) has been used to make strings for violins, violas, cellos, harps and other bowed or plucked instruments. In more recent times, it has also been used to string tennis racquets and stitch together surgical incisions. When dried, the collagen proteins in the intestines act like glue and give the strings strength and just the right flexibility.
It's one thing to know about all this; quite another to actually see how it's made. Watch below and follow the different steps required — twisting, stretching, drying, cutting, gauging, smoothing and varnishing — to turn the raw intestines into harp strings.
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