Our recital hall is a light color wood: all the walls and floor. It is hard to focus on the harp strings and depth perception is distorted. I’m thinking of putting a rug under the harp. What is the best color? Blue? Light green? No red or black stripes! No thick pile. Anything else you can think of?
Emma, that must have been HORRIBLE! I thought I had it bad at a recent library concert I played–the wooden floor, made of many narrow planks, rippled up and down where it had settled in the old building, undulating with the harp strings. I turned the harp every which way to minimize this effect, had someone adjust the lights, and was finally able to “tune it out,” no pun intended! But your photo of that place looks much worse than what I experienced.
Elinor, I think as long as the color of your rug is not white, red or black like the strings, it probably should be okay. Test it with different levels of light, also. My, what we harpists have to put up with, ha, ha!
You may want to get a very large indoor/outdoor mat in a medium dark neutral color that has a rubber back so it does not slide. Or you could find an area rug you like and put use a non-skid pad under it to prevent slipping. Carpet stores often have small sizes of carpet remnants and for a nominal charge, will bind the edges.
Actually, the rug does not need to be under the harp…just to the right side where the view of the strings is, so it doesn’t need to be really big or slip-proof or heavy. Even a piece of cloth will do…as long as other players don’t step on it and mess it up. Depends on where you are seated and what the traffic is there.
I carried a square of carpeting with me for this reason. A floor the same color as the “white” strings was deadly…..the black and white tiled floor at the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge Park, where I played often, was even worse, as each string disappeared and reappeared several times. The carpet piece I used was a deep soft rose color and worked just fine.
Yes, any color that is the same as the strings is a nightmare. An alternative to a rug is a floor-cloth, ie. oilskin.
The other solution is a footlight, at the base of the column. If you line it up right (and tape down the cord so it doesn’t move), the column will block the bulb from your eyesight, and it will illuminate the strings, making them shine. Or spotlights from above may help accomplish the same effect.
You can also go for a plain rug that will just have one color all over it like complete dark red or complete brown. You can check more from Nourison Hospitality, they have a good range of rugs and also provide rug maintenance service, you can check them from the official site.
Ok, I have to share this photo of worst background to play harp on ever! Flashing, yes disco-type flashing, colored lights all over the stage. And to make matters worse, I was told I would be playing indoors, so I was not dressed for playing outside, at night, in November,… on a flashing stage… At least it made for a great story 🙂
The school harp I used back in the early 70s was strung completely with red strings, black and green for the Cs and Fs. I was hired to play a reception – dimly lit banquet room with dark red carpeting with a jacquard pattern. All the strings disappeared. As an emergency solution, I laid my harp cover inside out on the floor to the right of the harp. Problem mitigated and luckily no nearby traffic.
am not sure i’ve ever noticed the color of a rug in 50 yrs of playing the harp…BUT!! Have played in a restaurant here on Nantucket for years, and the staff sometimes wear vertically striped aprons, navy blue with white stripes spaced at same approximate distance as my strings…when they are doing something to my right as i play, it practically makes me cross-eyed..my rods and cones get totally flummoxed.
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