Cassandra, where are you located? The Cithara Nova (built by John Westling of Sandpiper Harps) is mainly a West Coast thing, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. I live here in Washington DC, and ny Nova is one of the few on the East Coast. If you’re nearby you’re welcome to try mine.
It’s a remarkable and unusual harp with a huge sound due it’s innovative engineering. Fluorocarbon strings all the way to the bottom, and the bottom ten strings are kind of free-floating, since they attach under the base of the harp, and not under the soundboard like other harps.
Used ones are rare, but the best thing is to e-mail Cheryl Ann Fulton in the Bay Area and ask her. She’s the harpist who helped John design the harp, and many of her students play it. He supposedly retired from building last year, but rumor has it that he’s started again-despite what it says on his website.
Atlanta Harp Center is carrying a new model of harp that is very close. It’s called the Neoclassic and it’s built by Robert Cunningham. You can see it on the AHC website.
Cassandra, that’s great that you were able to find one to rent and try for a while. There’s nothing like living with a harp to find out what it’s really like! Rumor has it that John is building right now and may have a few available soon.
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