Does Size Matter?

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Question: Does size matter with a harp? Do I really need a concert grand pedal harp?

For the past twenty years I have curiously watched as the trend in harp sales (with the exception of student sized instruments) has moved almost exclusively to 47 string concert grands. Manufacturers have either taken smaller harps off the market or redesigned these same models to be larger and have more strings. The general consensus seems to be that bigger is better. There is this notion that anything having fewer than 47 strings, is smaller in size, or has a straight soundboard is not a real instrument and cannot be taken seriously.

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2 Comments

  1. I welcomed this very sensible article, having just acquired a straight 46er, a great size for teaching teenagers, for orchestral pit work and a touch lighter for moving around, whilst delivered a clearer sound than the Erards for which so much of the repertoire was premiered. It has been used for professional and solo work and much appreciated. These models will disappear from production if we snub them.

  2. After years of playing a 16, I bought a 23. It took me several years to figure out that the 23 was too large. I’m 5’6, but have short arms, average hands and am short-waisted — a sure-fire recipe for disaster. The 16 fits perfectly.

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