Cross-Strung VS Triple Strung

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    unknown-user on #163642

    Lately I’ve been really excited about the possibility of getting a cross-strung or triple strung harp. The full chromatic potential of these harps is so appealing, especially since the first instrument I ever learned was piano, and they seem so similar.

    Anyway, I’m just wondering which would be better. I was looking at the cross-strung Stoney End Esabelle, which seemed quite affordable, but the range is only three octaves. Musically, do you think this would be too constricting, when the whole point of getting a cross strung would be musical freedom?

    tony-morosco on #163643

    Well, I always say that unless you have a specific reason for getting a harp with a smaller range the bigger the better.

    I have never played on cross strung, but a rather well known triple strung harpists let me try her harp once and I swear, I nearly got vertigo and fell off my chair.

    I’ll stick to levers and pedals personally. All instruments are going to have their strengths and limitations and I find that the limitations and strengths of more common type of harps suits me.

    I understand that in Eastern Europe cross strung harps are popular for Jazz and I can see that as one of the areas where it would have definite strengths. But I like the range of pedal harps and being able to do pedal slides.

    Honestly, you need to try them out first. I always liked the idea of triple harp until I tried it and realized I would be incapable of playing one without getting nauseous.

    unknown-user on #163644

    The reason for getting a smaller harp would definitely be $$$. As far as trying out a cross-strung first, I don’t think that is very possible because I am from a small town in Northwestern Ontario, Canada (it’s a 24 hour drive to Toronto). There’s only me and one other harpist in town, and we both are self taught and playing folk harp.

    There are two harpmakers in Winnipeg (the closest major city, 3 hours drive), Larry Fisher and Elizabeth Goosen. As far as I know, neither of them are making cross-strung harps.

    I already have three harps: 34 string full levers by Fisherharps

    32-string F,C,G levers by Camelot harps

    and a 26-string flatsicle. I ordered the flatsicle from the States without trying it first. From where I live, I might as well just order a harp to be shipped to me, since the cost to travel to a harp fair would be so high.

    Jerusha Amado on #163645



    unknown-user on #163646

    As far as I can tell, double strung harps still have levers, so it’s not really what I’m looking for.

    John McK on #163647

    This is just speculation, but it seems that a 6/6 cross-strung would be easier to learn in the long run than a 7/5 cross- strung. Only two scales to learn!

    Does anybody have any feedback on that notion?

    Mary Ellen Fitzgerald on #163648

    In my limited experience with cross-strungs, it seemed like a totally different animal!

    unknown-user on #163649

    I’m playing both. It does require switching gears. The 6/6 is newest to me and came after I had less time to sit and study a new harp format and do it full justice. That being said, it is much more conceptually simple. Practically it still requires putting theory into motor memory. While both harps have a kinesthetic emphasis over other harps, the 6/6 whole tone is definitely fun for me at the moment, even though the 5/7 chromatic is my well worn pair of shoes, so to speak.

    I’ve never had to think about not having chromatic ability on either harp so I don’t know what that is like. I do have to take a bit more care not to be sloppy on the 6/6… I’m not sure what else to say.

    Learning either harp takes a. some draw of the muse, or b. a teacher that can communicate effectively, or c. an adventurous spirit w/the ability to progressively learn.

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