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favorite things about your harp

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  • #76172
    deb-l
    Participant

    what kind of a harp do you have and what are your favorite things about it? Thought this thread might be of interest to people shopping for harps and also thought it would be fun. There’s plenty of threads for what we lust for in harp, lets talk about what we appreciate in the harps we have. No negatives, no lusting.. lets see if it can be done : )

    I have a Dusty FH36S in Bubinga – never came up with a good name for it other than the Dusty.
    things I love about it –
    the Bass wires – love the sound of the wires, deep and wire-harpy sounding, hands down my favorite thing about this harp –
    The shimmery color of bubinga
    The deep resonance
    The sparkly brightness
    big enough to be a full sized harp but levers are easy to reach and still somewhat portable

    #76173
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I have two harps. I have my first harp, she is a 29 stringed Minstrel harp. She is small and she makes a very sweet sound. And for a short while, she rings out pretty impressively.

    In December of 2012, I purchased a 38 string Camac Concert Melusine. I believe this harp is a He! What I love about him (this is so funny) is that when I sing, my voice seems to bounce of the strings. And when I stop playing the strings, he hums in a bass tone and continues to hum until I mute it with my hand 🙂

    He compliments my voice when I sing. I’m soprano, and he operates as a tenor and a bass. An alto to my voice in his highest notes. He has a strong and regal in look. What a beauty!

    #76174
    Allison Stevick
    Participant

    I have a Heartland Delight (carbon fiber). I love the sweet tone and how well it holds a tune. I get to spend more time playing actual music and less time tuning than with my old harp! It is very resonant, and I really just think it sounds wonderful. The extreme portability and durability are really great, too. It doesn’t matter how humid or dry it is, I can still play outside whenever I feel like it. Being able to play by the creek or in the back yard without worrying about weather at all truly is my favorite thing about this harp (aside from the sound, of course). I really, really love playing outside with the breeze. 🙂

    #76175
    Angela Biggs
    Member

    I have a Heartland Sylvan. I love the lines and the materials — between the curves and the figured and birds-eye woods, she is visually *stunning*. Her Truitts are handsome and move very smoothly. Sometimes I still walk into the “harp room” just to take a look – and I’ve had her for over two years. 🙂

    I love the warm, even tone; even in nylon, and even in the upper registers, she is never shrill. She has a lovely sustain, especially in the lower registers. My singing voice is light and clear (soprano), and the Sylvan blends with it beautifully, supporting without overpowering. She also sounds amazing with a flute.

    Oh – and the Sylvan is a full-range lever harp but very light. I can handle her in all situations without any help, including choir lofts and their notorious stairs!

    #76176
    katerina
    Participant

    I have 4 different models of Rainer Thurau harps (3 Italian triples and 1 Gothic “Bosch”), and number 5 (Spanish X-string) is in process. A big problem of saying good things about these harps is that they just have absolutely no minuses and they are good things incarnate.

    The most beautiful and powerful sound the one could imagine on harp, great designs, fantastic woodwork, ideal engineering. Very strong basses on baroque harps – great for playing continuo. Ideal balance of volume all through. Rainer is one of very few makers, who treats the question of acoustics very seriously.

    I also saw Thurau lever harp and found it just stunning. I don’t play lever harp and don’t own one for quite a while already, but Thurau one is what I’m trying to persuade myself not to buy (so, it is anti-lust here). It is spectacular, with enormous sound, ideally done in all aspects and just 5kg weight!

    Great professional instruments. All of his model range.

    * * *
    A! I found the minus, but it is the silly one: Thurau harps are highly addictive! After playing one of them you try what absolute most of other makers or factories do… and you feel like you have the earplugs in your ears, and physically quite uncomfortable.

    #76177
    Sherri Matthew
    Participant

    I love my Triplett Luna 35-string wire harp. Long, bell-like, shimmering sustain (what I like most about wire harps, long sustaining notes, probably coming from my pipe organ background), full set of chromatic sharping blades, and built-in piezo-electric pickup, which is a handy supplement to the other three mikes I routinely use in studio work. Also I like having access ports in the back of the harp so I can quickly and easily change strings when one breaks. I was always impressed with how Triplett’s did the laser engraving and abalone inlay on that harp with such precision… there is inlay on the front pillar and cap, and it is beautiful, neat work… also the delicate contrasting wood trim down the side. They must have some fancy woodworking equipment… wow.

    Katerina, I’ve always been interested in Welsh triple harps and I think I read somewhere that they may have originated from Italy prior to their arrival in Wales. What are your triples strung with – gut, nylon, other types of string? Do you have any pictures of them? How long have you been playing them and what music do you play on them?

    #76178
    katerina
    Participant

    Sherri,
    yes, there is such story. At least Italian triples count over a century more of a history, before Welsh harp arrives.

    I play Italian triples. We own a Welsh harp, but it stands in the corner, untouched for the last 4 years. Wonderful instrument, made by Martin Haycock, but all Handel gigs for it are easier to play on a main instrument, and I just don’t play Welsh music…

    http://www.thurau-harps.com – I have Domeniccino, Zampieri and De Viaggio. All strung with Kuerschner plain gut (btw, I do recommend Kuerschner strings indeed for any sorts of harps: they are a lot better than BowBrand, live longer and cost slightly cheaper). On big harps the lowest 4 strings have partial metal wounding. That is historical, as described in some theorbo manuscript.

    I started with triple harp in January 2009. Mostly play harmonic lines in continuo section (sounds simpler than it is), accompany recitatives in operas and some tunes from here and there in a range of late 16th-middle 18th century. There is hardly any dedicated repertoire for Italian triple, but that is not because it wasn’t popular – the reason is that it was sharing the repertoire with keyboards and lutes. Caccini calls it a “perfect instrument which works great as a powerful bass harmony section and for high solo parts, as good as violin or flute”.

    #76179
    Sherri Matthew
    Participant

    Hi Katerina,
    Those are lovely harps! Thanks for the info about the strings. I had wondered if some of them ever had metal strings on them or not, even partially. Do you know if triple harps are being used in contemporary music, or if they are primarily reserved for the historic repertoire?

    Also, what are the differences between Welsh and Italian triple harps – sound, construction, etc.? I’ve never had the opportunity to try either one out, just heard recordings of them… I have a tape of Nansi Richards playing Welsh tunes.

    #76180
    bay-lee
    Participant

    I play a L&H Ogden lever harp.
    I guess that I mostly just love the “big” sound it has. It’s sound is so rich and clear. It sounds so much like a pedal harp, and that is what I hope to someday have. (And the fact that it is small, so I can take it anywhere is also a big plus for me)

    #76181
    deb-l
    Participant

    I wasn’t sure what it is about my Aziliz that I love most, so I held back on that one. Nine times out of ten it’s the harp I pick up rather than the Dusty. Why? because it is a fun harp to play, it makes me smile, the small size is very comfortable, and it’s pretty too. The salvarez strings are very responsive, round of tone, harp has a nice sound for any type of music from classical to jazz to traditional. It’s not drop dead gorgeous like the Dusty but it is a blast to play.

    #76182
    kay-lister
    Member

    I have a Thormahlen Swan and a L&H 85 E Concertino. My favorite thing about my harps is that they are sitting in MY house and not someone elses ;-). Also that they have been the cause of me meeting and becoming friends with some really DEAR people – my teacher especially!

    Kay

    #76183
    Lewee@selfaware.com
    Participant

    I own a Salvi Daphne 47EX and I play in a symphony. I love it when the brass play a very loud chord, and when they finish, I can hear that chord reverberate in the harp. 🙂 I always lean into my harp and listen to the resonating chord. 🙂

    #76184
    mia-strayer
    Participant

    i have 2 harps both from Lyon & Healy
    1 is a shamrock lever harp in natural wood she is named Emily & what i like about her is that she has celtic designs on the entire soundboard
    i also love the range on my lever harp
    she has 34 strings
    the other harp is an 85 gp in mahogany & her name is Gina
    44 strings is just enough for me
    i have a very high soprano voice
    both Emily & Gina have rich haunting voices too
    both harps are taller than me

    #76185

    I have 4 harps: A Camac Athena concert grand, a L&H Troubadour I, a Webster Cecelia and a Stoney End Eve. My favorite is the Camac because I prefer pedal harp. I love it because I can play anything on it, and I am pretty sucky at lever flipping, but do well with pedals (I’m also an organist by degree and therefore, I do pretty well with my feet even though it’s a completely different concept). I love my Troub because it has a beautiful mellow voice and a very high string tension. I love it because it’s old and still does very well. I love the Webster because it also has high string tension, a really wide soundboard and it has an interesting voice. It works really well for early music and for Celtic music, but it is capable of anything. The Eve is limited, but it is a cute little harp, and I used to take it to school when I was working so the kids could see and try a real harp. I also used to take it to the nursing home and play for my late mom who was in the throes of dementia and completely unaware of her surroundings. She would relax to the music. I’m glad I have run out of room for instruments, because I really really would like to buy a harpsichord, but alas, have no room left in the house. 🙂

    Briggsie

    #76186
    rosey-brumm
    Participant

    I have had many, and have multiple harps. I have dedicated harps for the music I play.
    My love harp is a Camac Mademoiselle Maple 40 which I had folk gut put on at the factory. She is gorgeous. Sounds even thru out all octaves, great projection, well balanced to play and places no weight or pressure on me, she has a narrow round soundbox in the playing region and small knee block, love the lever bass strings, they are not muddy nor produce unwanted overtones, folk gut is lighter and richer. Camac levers are my favourite as I have excellent pitch which has its down falls. I can reach all 40 strings, ( I have muscle disability issues to work with) . She is such a pleasure to play I will do exercises for hours. The tone and resonance is delightful, with my ear against the harp releases headaches and pain……bonus!
    I am so serious I have ordered another Madam 40 in black satin with the Classique gut (concert weight). I did not realise there was a variation in “concert weight strings ” across the different makes and not all concert gut is as firm as Bow Pedal weight and L & H combination. I have had a L & H Troubadour VI and it was too heavy tension.
    I have come back to round back harps for comfort and the sound preference.
    Round, square, stave back harps all have unique sound qualities and suit specific music.

    But still love my Triplett Eclipse 38 stave back, all Bubinga and on s’board with inlay. She sounds clean, can be mellow and bright, has a full rich resonance easy to play fast tunes on, great for all folk music, good nylon string tension, Camac levers, beautiful wood glow and finish.
    All these harps are big and not easily moved you might have noticed and I bought a Heartland Legend 36 Carbon Fibre 5 kilos. I could not adjust to the brighter pitch and found it moved too much as I played, light is great for moving but I needed more weight for playing. These are personal points and I felt the sound was lacking warmth and differences thru the octaves lacking. I do suspect the other models may sound differently.

    I have a Dusty Strings Crescendo 34, loveland levers that are made to Dusty’s standard, great sound, good volume, nylon string , with easy stand, great case and goes anywhere in most cars. She is also a great starter harp for new players they like the size and playing on and off the stand, lovely for busking and circles.
    If anyone wants to buy Dusty Strings FH 36, FH34, FH26, Triplett Celtic II, Camac Korrigan 38 and like info to decide just let me know. There are no wrong harps, buying playing bonding and caring for a harp is like a dance partner or lover, harps are not one size fits all.

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