changes in tone as harps age

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    deb-l on #158323

    Well I’m happy to say Lilly played my prelude and pronounced it ‘nice and bright’ and it will be shipped early next week!

    I’ve seen adds for older harps that say things like ‘has developed a nice warmth’ over the years, and another that said the harp was unusually bright for a Prelude.

    As the harp ages and the tone ‘opens up’ does a bright harp tend to get brighter, or do they all tend to get warmer with age, or is there just no telling?

    barbara-low on #158324

    That’s a hard question to answer – the interpretations of warmth, bright, etc. are subjective. But it’s always a good idea to keep your harp in tune, play with good tone and play often. You’ll be giving your harp and soundboard the best chance to develop a good tone.

    deb-l on #158325

    thanks Barbara, that makes sense.

    unknown-user on #158326

    I think its playing and the wood ageing too. And the board bowing changes the sound. My

    unknown-user on #158327

    Oh, and I think when people say that a harp “opens up” they mean that it gets louder and fuller.

    karen on #158328

    With all due respect, I disagree with your teacher. You (and everyone else) deserves to have a good instrument….the best your money can buy without stressing you at this moment in time. I don’t know why everyone thinks people should learn on anything other than a fantastic instrument. It is hard enough to learn everything without having to contend with a less than good/excellent instrument. Keep dreaming of course but also, make it happen if that is what you want.

    steven-todd-miller on #158329

    Karen, thank you so much for sharing the same thoughts that I have also been preaching! Why do people let others have complete psychological control over what they can and cannot have, or what they can and cannot do? Aren’t we all created equal? Who decides who must suffer or live without something because you have to “earn it”? This is nothing but bullying, and shame on any teacher who uses their trusted position to subjugate their students in any way. Have Lyon and Healy, Salvi, Venus, Camac, and all the rest come up with a “Suffering Quota Statement” that one must sign before they sell them an instrument? Please, people! Follow your dreams to the best your life circumstances allow you, and never let anyone put you in a box designed by their own miserable standards.

    steven-todd-miller on #158330

    PS… AND if you are not satisfied with your current life circumstances, work hard to try and make them better!

    deb-l on #158331

    Natty, to my ears, since I never played a pedal harp, I bet yours would sound very full and rich and not twangy in the slightest.

    deb-l on #158332

    Steven, some people work very hard to make ends meet, and it’s not about working harder to make circumstances better, but about being satisfied with what you have.

    The best thing about the harp is it sounds great as a beginner with little practice because much of the tone is coming from the harp and not the player, who would have to work harder for good tone on a bowed or wind instrument.

    Karen Johns on #158333

    I agree with Steven & Karen- get the best harp your money can buy. That’s what I did, and I’ll never look back. It doesn’t matter to me what playing level I am at, or whether this is a hobby or profession. Look at it this way- if you can only play simple tunes, wouldn’t you want them to sound the best they can?

    Back to the original topic though…I think

    unknown-user on #158334

    OOops! seems I have a talent for saying stuff wrong and I think maybe I should just keep my mouth seriously shut from now on! My harp is not that bad, its just not amazingly amazing! And I can’t afford another harp anyways…or should I say that my folks can’t afford to buy me another one anyways!! .I love it because of the music that i can learn on it and the orchestra that I play in

    deb-l on #158335

    Natty you play in orchestra?

    unknown-user on #158336

    Oh yeh, I just play in the local community orchestra sometimes. I like it a lot but I’m not sure I want to play with an orchestra as a job because you have to play loud all the time! Ahhhhhhh!!!

    What you were saying about the differences between cello and harp is interesting. But I think that a great harpist can make a student harp sound so much better, and a lot of your tone is in your fingers and not the harp. but I think that you might be right that there is more difference with harps, than say, cello or trombone or something.

    unknown-user on #158337

    I just read something on the harps and accessories thread (Salvi Angelica) about someone saying that a harp sounded muddy and think its the right place to talk about it here. As I have heard a harp like that a really old one that had a really bowed soundboard. Sometimes when the soundboard bows up they sound really beautiful and full, but sometimes harps can end up sounding too boomy and there is no focus in the sound. I think its mostly a pedal harp thing. I don’t think its the wood being walnut so much as that the board had pulled up too much.

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