Buying a 2nd lever harp

  • Participant
    lemonyellow on #227135

    I’m a beginner who has been playing just over 1 year. I’m working on RCM Toronto Grade 4 pieces now, and will probably do my Grade 6 exam next year. I’m also an elementary school music teacher by day. When I get home from work I’m flat out exhausted and I can’t focus to practice until Saturday. I’d like to keep a 2nd harp at school so I can practice in the morning or day time when I’m fresher, and maybe to accompany when my students are singing. Ideally I’d like to take this harp travelling with me when I go away in summer or when I drive the 16-hr trip to see my parents and family back home at Christmas/summer break. I currently have a Ravenna 34 that I’m very happy with. It just fits in my tiny car (Honda Fit). I was thinking of getting the Ravenna 26. My question is, how do I play my rep on 26 string harp when most if goes down to at least G3. Do I play everything up an octave? I tried that with some of my pieces and it just feels so awkward. Am I better off saving up the difference and getting another 34 string harp? It’s just so heavy to travel with, and I can’t imagine taking a beast like that on a road trip or camping. I’m so afraid it will get damaged in transit or by the weather (it’s really really dry here, but temperate rain forest where my parents live). Sometimes I fly to my parents’ because it’s too dangerous to drive in winter, but I can’t imagine it’s that much easier to travel with a 26-string, either instrument would need its own seat or ‘the hold’ in a hard case $$$$, so airline-friendly is not a necessity (just a wish).

    In 3-5 years I might like to try pedal harp, but right now I find lever very challenging. I used to think my 2nd harp would be a L&H Prelude or something similar quality, but maybe it’s better to buy a cheaper 2nd harp for school/travel and save for a pedal harp later?

    Participant
    Danamarie on #227136

    Hi there!
    I could have written this note! Lots of similarities. I just did my RCM grade 4 harp coming up 2 and a half years now. I played this on a Triplett Sierra 30, fully levered. I did very well and only had one issue with a lower note which I had to leave off, because my instrument was only 30 strings. You will have to make yourself familiar with the RCM grade 6 Harp requirements. There are some changes that allow you to compensate for playing a piece that requires a wee bit larger stringed harp, ie., pieces that include F,E,D,and low C, so you would just take the note an octave higher. One of my pieces I had to do this. You will not get penalized for doing so, as it states this right in the Harp syllabus 2009. You will need to get a larger harp to do the Grade 6 exam though. For the Grade 6 RCM exam, there are many more lever changes, Lariviere exercises and Loman finger exercises which require at least 36 and preferably 38 -40 strings. My Salvi Ana lever 38 string does still not provide enough strings for all of my pieces. At the moment, I made the switch to a pedal harp and rent from my teacher, a Salvi Daphne 40 string. With advanced pieces and technical requirements, the 40 string not only accommodates every note in the piece, but gives me the comfort knowing I don’t have to make any sudden changes to a piece, which often creates stress, when I have a smaller stringed instrument. For you, it isn’t going to help you out by purchasing another small stringed lever harp to practice on. The Grade 6 RCM Harp repertoire and especially the finger exercises (Loman) are challenging and demanding and you will need a much more larger harp to accommodate leaving an octave between left and right hand when completing 2 octaves. There are carbon fiber harps–Heartland–that are 38+ strings and are very light for transportation. Other than that, it is inevitable that as you progress with your harp studies, and want to complete the RCM Harp program examinations, you will need a good harp dolly to move your larger harp around. Good luck with your studies! I am taking my time with Grade 6, the technique(scales, etc.,) pretty much mastered except for Loman exercises and my pieces all together and the pedal harp, is just amazing to play and use. I will be selling my Salvi Ana 38 to help put towards purchasing a pedal harp.

    Participant
    lemonyellow on #227137

    This is great feedback, thank you. I guess I should do the opposite. Use my 34 for school/travel and ‘upgrade’ to a larger harp for home. I’m going to need a second job to support my harp habit 😉

    Lever changes… ugh. I’m working on Bach’s Minuet in G and Damselfly. I’ve played piano for 40 years, oboe, flute, trombone, recorders, sung high-Es in crazy coloratura passages, but harp hurts my brain and causes panic like nothing else I’ve ever played. But I love it.

    Participant
    charles-nix on #227144

    For you to think about:
    1) you can purchase a pre-owned 40 string pedal for about the same money as a new 38-40 string. With any harp, each instrument is different. A warranty is no substitution for a good inspection and listening to the instrument.
    2) you will find that string spacing and tension will be different from your Ravenna to a concert tension. Even different sizes of pedal harp will have a different feel when playing. (One tends to sit farther up the scale on a smaller harp. A lower bench would help, but not when you have pedals.) You may have problems with muscle memory causing stumbles when playing on instruments from different “classes.”
    3) can you rent/borrow a harp to use where your parents live?
    4) more harps=more string sets and more regulations. The ongoing expenses of keeping multiple instruments in good condition adds up to more than the purchase price. I often see people with many harps, none of which have been restrung or regulated in decades. Their choice, but I’d rather have one or two that are well-maintained and concert-ready. Why spend all the effort practicing while listening to a poor instrument?

    Participant
    wil-weten on #227149

    Hi lemonyellow, what about a little double strung harp? Lots of possibilities and it needs very little place.
    Think e.g. of a 2×22 string Stoney End double. As you prefer a bit stronger string tension, you may prefer the Brittany or its one note lower tuned ‘sister’ Brea to the Eve which has a bit less string tension.

    Here: https://youtu.be/PGLa5EFwmcs you find some information on the Brea and you may like to have a look here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLIXm6e0ojIIpPZkTyJo8gw at this collection of clips on the possibilities of the 2×22 string double harps

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