All-purpose pedal harp

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Keymaster
    HBrock25 on #156187


    I work chiefly with winds, brass, percussion, and sometimes orchestral strings. I have some questions:

    1) Would a lever harp be too soft to hold its own in an orchestral setting?
    2) What is a pedal harp with decent range that is not too big?
    I’m looking for a harp that can be played by all sizes of people, that is portable, but that is also resonant and has some nice low tones. I’m trying to avoid the huge grand concert harps.
    3) I’ve read about camac harps on this forum. Would you recommend those for the above question? Is there a standard range for smaller concert harps? How would I label the line (specifying the type of harp without being biased towards a company)?

    Thanks much in advance!

    Tacye on #156188

    1) Volume is the least of the reasons lever harps are infrequently found in orchestras – the composers were writing for pedal harps which have a different tone and very different capabilities.

    daniele-di on #156189

    Hello Adrian,

    1) no, but usually orchestras play classical music, and you usually need a pedal harp to play that kind of music, but I`m not too informed because I`m not a fan of Orchestras 🙂
    And usually people expect to see a big and shiny pedal harp in an orchestra!

    2)Pedal harps are all “big” and they go from 40 to 47 strings, but if you need it to play in an orchestra, it does not make much sense to choose a 40string instead of a 47.
    For example the smaller pedal harp from Lyon&Healy is the Chicago petite 40 string, but it`s still 28kg, Height 166cm and Width 89 cm, so it`s still quite big

    If you want a big good lever harp you can try to take a look at the Salvi Ana, which is still quite big but smaller than the pedal ones.

    But again…they are not really portable 🙁

    Sid Humphreys on #156190

    Begging your pardon Daniele, all harps are portable. I move my concert grand almost on a daily basis. the fact that I am male doesn’t make a difference. My first teacher, Cindy Horstman (as well as all my teachers after her) is a petite woman and she moves her harp by herself as well!

    barbara-fackler on #156191

    Ah, it depends on how one defines portable, doesn’t it? So many places are handicapped accessible now that moving a big harp isn’t a terrible ordeal.

    One of my former adult students sold her pedal harp a few years back and is now using her large lever harp in an amateur orchestra in the area. They play a lot of the classics and a pops concert or two a year. She’s an accomplished musician and has become quite good at adapting parts for her lever harp. You must remember that there aren’t very many orchestra parts that can be played as written on lever harp. If you are fortunate enough to find a conductor that will let you alter the parts to fit the instrument (and you’re able to do so), you could use a lever harp.

    How you’ll use the harp makes all the difference as to what is the best harp for the job. That’s why so many people end up with more than one size of harp.

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