Angry Neighbours

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #162221

    I just had another tenant from my building knock on my door and tell me that everyone in the building is being disturbed by my harp playing (which he thought was a piano?), and inform me that he was planning to lodge a formal complaint. Any thoughts about soundproofing or how to deal with this?

    catherine-rogers on #162222

    You could weave a narrow strip of felt through the strings down by the soundboard to mute it. You’ll still hear it but it will be very quiet.

    karen-conoan on #162223

    Be sure you’re not sitting near a heating/cooling duct.

    anita-burroughs-price on #162224

    Does your building have a noise policy? Some require tenants

    to lower noise between, say 9 pm and 9 am. This applies

    to stereos, instruments, televisions.

    barbara-low on #162225

    This is a difficult situation even if you are within your rights as your neighbors seem to have decided they don’t want to hear harp music. Hopefully you will be able to come to a happy resolution.
    First find out what the rules are regarding noise for your building, and be sure to adhere to any time restrictions.
    Weaving felt through the strings as Catherine suggested would help muffle the sound. You can try thicker fabric, like socks, to muffle the strings even more, You’ll have to weave through all your lower and middle strings – push the fabric down towards the soundboard. I’m not sure how much a rug might help in dampening the sound, but it’s worth a try.

    rod-c on #162226


    It seems to me that I read on post on this site some months back that was something about muffling the sound of a harp by gently stuffing towels into soundboard (through the holes in the back). I searched for the post, but didn’t find it.

    Does anyone remember this? If not, maybe the mind is just going here…

    Rod C.

    Anonymous on #162227

    A rug under the harp will help to some degree.

    unknown-user on #162228

    Is there a room in your apartment which is more isolated? I’m thinking of maybe a back bedroom or other location which does not share so many walls with the neighbors – maybe even a walk-in closet if you have one – the towel stuffing idea is also a good one – if you are not on a ground floor, I think a thick rug is a good idea too.

    Seoid OC on #162229

    It’s such a shame that you’re in this situation – I always find it odd when people object to harp music since it’s such a lovely, inoffensive instrument normally!

    Unless you were playing late at night though I wouldn’t think he has any

    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #162230

    You got lots of good suggestions, so I can’t add anything except to comment. I can’t believe someone would whine about a harp with all the noise pollution currently EVERYWHERE……I can hardly stop at a red light without hearing blasting boombox crap coming out of cars around me.

    Complaining about a harp?????? please!

    unknown-user on #162231

    Unfortunately I just started a new song with harmonics.

    Answer honestly, if any of you were in my situation, would you start looking for a new apartment, because you’d rather move than tamper with the beautiful sound of your harp just to please other people?

    kay-lister on #162232

    You could run a wire across the top of the stairs and . . .

    Sorry – don’t know where that came from!

    Really – so sorry you’re having to deal with such P I A neighbors.

    kay-lister on #162233

    To answer your last question truthfully – IF there were another place to move with rent being the same that would not restrict me from playing what I have always wanted to play, nice neighborhood, convenient to work etc. Yes, I would move.

    sherry-lenox on #162234

    I agree with Kay. When I first read this post, it made me so mad I didn’t want to answer. Unless “the other tenants” are in some excruciatingly sensitive sub-group, you’ll never have peace.

    The only wild shot alternative, in my opinion, is to acquire a copy of your “noise rights”, and adhere to it scrupulously. But be warned, if your neighbors are this “sensitive” about this issue, they may just pick up and move to the next gripe when they can’t zing you (pun intended) with their previous complaint.

    carl-swanson on #162235

    One thing you could do is try to find out when your neighbors are out and the building is empty or almost empty and try to do the bulk of your practicing then. I don’t know where you live, but if you’ve been practicing all summer with the windows open then a lot of your practicing may be reaching everyone else via the open windows. Can you practice with the windows closed and maybe air condition that room? Carpeting and as much sound absorbing material in the room as possible can also help a lot. One friend of mine, a very well known European harpist, moved into an apartment at one point and had to rent a portable soundproof booth to do her practicing. I don’t know if that is an option.

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