Ah, yes, I play the harp -- a bit!

 
 

    Several years ago I decided that I wanted to learn to play the pedal harp -- I didn’t realize at the time that it was one of the hardest instruments to learn. This audio is to prove to everyone that you CAN take up an instrument after your kids go off to college! It took much more work than I ever expected, but six years of lessons were more than enough to get me going -- I work on my own now -- though I’m much less dedicated now than I used to be -- the lessons do keep you on track. I’ve played with harp ensembles and a mandolin orchestra, but prefer playing on my own because it is more satisfying to play a complete piece rather than one of its parts, and I’m not a performer. My favorite is Baroque music -- most of which was written for harpsichord -- this was before the pedal-harp was invented, so I play a lot of transcribed pieces.


    Harp 101: The concert harp has 47 strings -- mine is a semi-grand with 46 strings. ALL the strings have to be tuned before each practice! The harp has the widest range of all orchestra instruments except the piano. The harp is played with the thumb and first three fingers on each hand, AND with both feet. The feet work the pedals which lengthen or shorten the strings to create all your sharps and flats so that you can change keys easily and add accidentals; left hand normally plays the bass parts, the right hand the treble. The pedal harp is a hand-made instrument. It has 2000 movable parts which form the pedal mechanism. The lower register strings are made of steel-wound nylon, the middle strings are made of gut and the upper strings are made of nylon. The 46 strings create 2000 pounds of tension on the soundboard!


    I am putting three short pieces on this website -- just to give a taste of what I play and how I play. My recorder is ancient, but it will have to do for now. I can’t do a video because it requires too much memory.


 

Some harp music, finally!

Ettore Pozzoli (1873-1957)

An Intermediate Exercise #1

C.W.vonGluck (1714-1787)

Dance of the Blessed Spirits

J.S.Bach (1685-1750)

Prelude in C: A Well Tempered Clavier