classic lever harps as stepping stones to pedals

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    deb-l on #156861

    Is the classic lever harp with pedal harp strings and tensions, designed as a stepping stone to pedal harp, ever an end unto itself?

    Donna O on #156862

    I play a Prelude 40 and have no plans or desire to move up to a Pedal harp.

    tony-morosco on #156863

    Well, I’m probably not the one to answer since when I started I had no intention of playing pedal harp, but I ended up playing pedal harp.


    I know plenty of harpists who have no desire to play pedal harp. There are plenty of harpists who even played pedal harp and moved exclusively or almost exclusively to lever harp.

    Pedal harp strings and tension is a matter of taste and not necessarily a tool simply to move people on to pedal harp. Having both lever harps with “folk” stringing and “pedal harp” stringing I simply prefer the tension and feel of strings when strung like a pedal harp. I have big hands so the narrow spacing and thin strings are more of a problem for me, although I can manage.

    As I have mentioned elsewhere, I don’t like the idea that the lever harp is some kind of stepping stone to the pedal harp. Not that it can’t be. Since it takes a while before someone becomes proficient enough for pedals to become a real necessity for most people who do want to play pedal harp eventually, the lever harp is a good, less expensive option to get your feet wet and learn the basics while you save up for that very expensive pedal harp.

    But that is just one end that lever harps serve. They are instruments in themselves. All instruments have their strengths and their limitations. The strengths and limitations of a lever harp vs. a pedal harp can often make it the better options.

    And the number of pedal harpists out there who also play lever harp as well I think indicates that there is more to it than the idea of “moving up to” a pedal harp from levers. If that were so there would be no need for most harpists to keep a lever

    sherry-lenox on #156864

    I think my Thormahlen Serenade, strung with nylon, was an absolutely perfect stepping stone to pedal harp, but the nice thing is it was also a perfect “stay here and play” harp. The tension is just slightly lighter than my 85P.

    I think the more involved I get with harps the more i realize that individual harps are like individual people- when you get to know them, they can surprise you no matter what you thought in the first place.

    diana-day on #156865

    A lot of people move on to pedal harp because their skills advance and they want to play more complex music. Here’s to all

    Tacye on #156866

    The Pilgrim Clarsach doesn’t quite fit your bill- it has pedal harp strings and tension but the design prompt was apparently to make it easy for a pedal harpist (Derek Bell in fact) to ‘move down’.

    deb-l on #156867

    Donna, don’t rule anything out because of starting older, you will suprise yourself what you can do!

    deb-l on #156868


    Tacye on #156869

    Deb, I disagree with your view about harps being classical or folk – I think you are doing a disservice to the variety of music and instruments out there.

    deb-l on #156870

    I guess I would argue that classical and jazz needs warmth, folk need bright.

    Tacye on #156871

    Erards are too beautiful to be touched!

    Jerusha Amado on #156872


    This represents my personal tastes concerning what tone sounds best for a particular genre of music.

    kay-lister on #156873

    I would agree with Tony.

    Tacye on #156874

    I too agree that some music suits one harp better than another, and music which is well written for one instrument may not fit another without (or even with) transcription. What I disagree with is lumping classical onto one and folk onto another.

    jessica-wolff on #156875

    Hmm, well, if I ran into a child-size Erard double-action like the one I saw in a museum in Vienna, I might be tempted away from the classic lever harp &c. But I admit I like the slightly easier action of some lever harps. (I’m assuming the Erard I mention also has a slightly easier action.)

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