Anyone have an opinion on cross-strung harps?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #160016

    Am wanting to learn harp and while researching harp manufacturers, I
    came across a cross-strung harp, which has no need for tuning levers,
    since all the chromatic notes are there.

    Participant
    amy-walts on #160017

    Hi Deb.
    I myself don’t play cross-strung harp, but I did meet up with Harper Tasche (who is outstanding
    on the cross-strung) in Canada this year and listened to him speak at length about his, and got to
    give it a quick try. I’m by no means an expert, but I may be able to give you a very rudimentary
    overview. The cross-strung is a fabulous instrument, but you may find a good deal of difficulty
    finding a way to learn it, as not very many people play it (compared with more conventional
    harps), and even fewer teach it. There are a few books and videotapes that are supposedly
    available, but the ones I’ve seen go on the assumption that you’ve already got some harp
    experience under your belt– they’re not geared towards people completely new to harping.
    So even teaching yourself may prove difficult. Playing the cross-strung harp is very, very
    different from playing “regular” harp, in that the hand positions are all different. One needs to think
    “in three dimensions”, as your hands not only need to find the right place horizontally on the harp,
    but also vertically in order to select the right combinations of strings above and/or below the
    cross. While sitting at the harp, the string at the low left set is continued at the high right set, and
    the strings beginning on the right end on the left, etc, so that the basic chord patterns for the two
    hands are opposites. One must learn specialized (and different) hand positions for each hand
    and each chord, therefore, which are often named after letters, like “v” , based on which fingers
    are up or down for each combination. It is very complex to learn. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t
    recommend you learn harp on a cross-strung to start out with unless you have a teacher locally to
    guide you through it. You might be better off learning on a more conventional instrument and
    then advancing to the cross-strung later on (not to discourage you, of course!) Coming from a
    piano background myself, I can assure you that using sharping levers on a harp is not as bad as
    it seems when you’re first setting out to learn. You get the hang of it quickly, and a surprising
    amount of your piano repertoire can be adapted. If you are hoping to play primarily very
    chromatic music, you may want to consider learning the pedal harp rather than lever harp, in any
    case– teachers will be easier to find, your repertoire will be more directly transferable, and once
    you are confident at the fundamentals of harping, you can always shoot for the cross-strung later
    on. There are a number of places that will offer financing on pedal harps to make them more
    affordable.
    Hope that helps.
    ~Amy

    Participant
    unknown-user on #160018

    I play the cross strung harp. Since I play keyboards, the transition to cross strung harp was quite easy. I have a Stony End cross strung lap harp and am getting ready to buy a cross strung floor harp with five octaves (the lap has three.) I also have a levered harp. Compared to the cross strung, I find the levered harp limited.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #160019

    I play cross-strung harp, and own the second one (first after the prototype) made by Argent Fox in Bloomington IND (www.argentfox.com).

    Participant
    unknown-user on #160020

    hi Panda,

    I’m living in Germany, in Black Forest and have no possibility to find a teacher for cromatic harp somewhere here, If you know how I can order any books for this orcan give me some adwice, it would be really great. I’m an opera singer and just start to play chromatic harp, which I already love very much. I don’t know, where are you at home but I’m going to visit London from 23 to 31 of Oktober

    Participant
    michael-rockowitz on #160021

    Milena,

    If you read the information in this link, it will answer a lot of your questions.

    Information on Cross Strung harp by Harper Tasche

    Lower down on that page, there’s also a reference to a book that Harper Tasche wrote, “How To Play The Cross-Strung Harp.”

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