Harp-friendly neightbours, NOT!

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    Misty Harrison

    I just remembered something I saw once. I saw a harpist on a tour practicing in a house where she was staying with some people who were hosting them. So that she didn’t bother them she put a scarf (thin) through the harp strings. She said she doesn’t usually do that because she likes to really listen to her tone every time she plays and she can’t do that with the scarf (obviously) but that in a situation where it’s really important to practice without bothering people she does this because it muffles the strings. I think she had to practice at night while they were sleeping because she was doing so many events during that week in the daytime and early evening. It’s really important though that the scarf was really guazy and thin like one of those 1950’s sheer scarves. So it didn’t bend the strings at all but it really made the harp soft.

    Geri McQuillen

    Dear Pat,

    You made a very profound statement that clears up something for me that has bothered me all of my life regarding people who are chronic complainers.


    Hallo Pat,

    “They are very wounded people that refuse to be healed.”

    I agree, in fact when she told me that my playing is affecting her health I thought that it was a really strange and ironic thing to say, considering that there is such a thing as harp therapy. It’s not what I do, but I know that most people usually find the sound of the harp pleasant, relaxing, helpful. Your post made me think that there’s probably a real connection between the (bad) way she relates to people and her reaction of total refusal of my harp playing and music in general. I swear she talked to me like she had never known anybody playing a musical instrument. She kept asking me why do I have to do it, why? Why? I was so taken aback by her question that I didn’t know what to say.

    “In the meantime, might I suggest that even if you don’t play it,
    keep your connection to your harp. I find that even just looking at or
    touching my harp has a calming influence when I’m rattled.”

    I agree again. Oh I’m playing my harp, no worries, I’m certainly not stopping because of her, although I must admit that knowing that somebody is really bothered by me and my harp, does put me off a bit. I know she’s just an arid lady with nothing better to do than complaining, but I’ve found myself wondering if I really play that bad that to hear me it’s some kind of torture. I hope it’s not the case! Well, even if it is… that’s just one more reason to go on practising! 😉


    Thank you Karen,
    that’s really sweet, I needed to hear that!

    Seoid OC

    All I can say is WOW, some people are unbelievable!


    Almost all of my neigbours love hearing the harp, indoors and out, and say so regularly. One neighbour likes that the harp put her cats to sleep and the other says that the harp calms her dog down.
    Had a bad experience the other night with a girl across the way though. We share an alleyway, but I’ve never seen her. She is definitely not a “quiet type” (i.e. entertains frequently, and most definitely puts on music to listen to outside – not that I mind that one bit, myself).
    I was playing outside about 4:30 p.m. (I know people may not care for harp dinnertime music so I try to do it between 4 and 5 if I play outside)

    Chris Asmann



    > “Oh God, it’s round two of that f*** harp!”
    I’m not so sure I’m
    proud of myself for doing this, but I went inside and got my mountain
    dulcimer and played and sang all five verses of “Wayfaring Stranger,”
    loudly, with the dulcimer only about halfway tuned. After that, there
    was silence on her end.

    Hahahaha that’s the way to go Hanna! I’ll bear this in mind if it happens again 🙂


    > Is there someone you can report HER to?


    Hallo Chris and thank

    but I’m afraid my being accommodating doesn’t go that far. It
    stops at saying a polite but clear “No” to her unreasonable
    requests. I know what you mean, though. The point is, her flat is
    right under mine, but my flat has two floors and the harp is
    upstairs, so there’s a whole floor between where I play and her (I
    hope my English is clear enough about this floor thing…). Very
    rarely, I have taken my smaller harp downstairs, so directly above
    her flat. She claims that it doesn’t make any difference whether I play upstairs or downstairs but… my smaller harp is a Camac Bardic 27 nylon strings (very similar to the Ravenna 26)! How loud can it go?? Maybe I should inform Camac about this miracle of sound projection that they have made… 😀

    Julie Koenig

    Hi Micky,

    I realize this doesn’t help your situation but I just had to share this story…

    When I was in college in the mid ’80’s, my boyfriend (now my hubby) lived on the first floor of a row house. The neighbors above were two frat-boy wannabes. One of them was the brother of the landlord/owner so they thought they could do whatever they wanted. They would play ‘Quarters’ on the floor (Rob’s ceiling) and just caused a general ruckus. Once they had flushed so many, shall we say, prophylactics down their toilet that it backed up the sewage system into the basement. Fortunately, they had to clean it up themselves.

    Anyway, Rob had recently purchased a new stereo system with pretty big speakers. We lay them on the floor face-up, put the radio on an adult contemporary station (Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Christopher Cross, etc.), set the volume on the Spinal Tap setting of ’11’ and went out for dinner and a long walk. You could hear “Bette Davis Eyes” from eight houses away.

    Never heard a peep from them again.

    Julie in Atlanta

    Pat Eisenberger

    Hi Geri –

    I’m really, really glad that you’ve had some insight that has helped you. A wise person once told me that whenever I encountered someone who has being hateful and mean, I should imagine them wrapped in bandages, because they were very wounded people. That bit of advice has stayed with me and helped ease my own anger and hurt at these people.


    The woman may be tone-deaf, or pathologically unable to enjoy music. What she said about not understanding is a clue. She may not understand it herself, and that is a way of asking.

    Anyhow, as my dearly beloved ballet teacher used to say, with all dignity, “it’s all chickenshit!”

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