Hello! I played harp for a few months and I would like to get back into it with the smaller, easier to manage version of a baby harp. But do I need lessons to play this instrument or can I learn as I go along?
Hi Genevieve, frankly, I think that buying a baby harp just for this purpose is a waste of money and also that you will be disappointed by its sound and the difficulty to keep it in balance. I really wonder why you think learning on a harp like that could be easier in any way.
Now, which kind of harp have you been playing on for a few months? And what has been your strategy to find your way around it? And what kind of problems have you experienced.
There are several great tutorials to teach yourself the harp, but a few lessons to start with could be of tremendous help in finding an ergonomically sound posture and prevent chronic injuries.
What is a baby harp? Is it a lever-less, 12 or 15-strings Celtic Harp?
Your title mentions the Celtic Harp as a whole : I feel that it is important to point out that the Celtic Harp is an instrument in and of itself, and not a toy prelude to the “real thing” (= the pedal harp). They belong to the same family of instrument, but the Celtic Harp is not a lesser harp. That would be like saying “playing the violin is much easier than playing the cello, because it’s smaller!”
If by “baby harp” you mean these Pakistani 12 or 15-string toy harps, I agree with Will-Weten : they are cute decoration but the sound tends to be horrible and there’s not much music you can do with it.
Some YouTube video, with pro harpist, get a sound out of them : but if you want to be able to play a little bit I would advise getting a larger harp. You can rent it out for a while, and see if you want to pursue with this instrument. With the harp, it very often it a case of “you get what you pay for”.
Definitely check out other posts on this forum, including one by Biagio that gives you an idea of the price it costs to make a harp.
The term “Celtic harp” can be very broad and confusing. In the broadest sense I take that to mean a triangular sharped stringed instrument where the strings intersect the neck and the sound board. It may have sharping devices or not, But no pedals.
Whew, that covers a lot of ground!
If you want a small harp-like instrument I think that you you would be much happier and be able to do a lot more with a 10-12 string lyre than you could with a baby harp of that size. That is actually a very fun instrument; see for instance the Lynda Lyre from Musicmakers.
The only possible exception to that statement IMO would be a narrow spaced wire strung clarsach of about 19-22 strings. However this requires a specialized technique, much more similar to how one plays a lyre than a harp.
So my answer is also, “No, that baby harp is pretty much a waste of money.”
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