Harp Recordings

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    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #151516

    An engineer asked me to pick out some preferred solo harp recordings to show what sound I like, and I could not truly find any.

    The better ones were not done in studios but in churches. I did not really do any better with lps. The only fine recordings were Judy Loman’s all-Salzedo lp and Heidi Lehwalder’s all-Salzedo lp (which I technical-assisted on). In chamber music, it’s another story. It partly has to do with how many harpists play, but mostly to do with acoustics and microphone placement as well as type of microphone.

    I would urge harpists to forsake studio recording and seek out wonderful sound environments in which to record. To me, that requires a high ceiling of 16 feet or much more, and a reasonable amount of reverberation, but not too much. A feeling of space rather than echo would be best, it seems.

    I would like to avoid the sound of the finger seeming to hit the string and minimize any buzzes by keeping the microphone at a distance. I want to hear the harp in the room as an audience does, not where it is being played. Whether that can be recreated in a small space remains to be seem.

    What are your favorite recordings or recording techniques and why?

    sherry-lenox on #151517

    Just a little OT- I have a recording that I love, but the harpist’s breathing is so loud that it’s quite distracting.

    There are a lot of recording majors in my Theory III class and I asked them if anything could be done to reduce the sound and they wondered if the poor harpist could wear a surgical mask!

    If there were anything done with miking I think it would reduce the overall sound of the harpist’s tone.

    There’s a Judy Loman recording of interesting familiar pieces, “The Romantic Harp”, that I love, also done in a church. It’s probably one that most harpists already know. There is no environmental noise that I can hear, and the music is luscious.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #151518

    Yes, I just listened to it again. Aside from wonderful playing, I am conscious of her fingertips on the strings. I think the mics were too close.

    So far, I have found Elizabeth Richter’s Looking Glass River, and Erica Goodman’s Dance of the Poplars by Milton Barnes to have more of the sound I want. The notes just appear, no discernible onset, and they sustain well into the space. I am convinced that digital mics are overly detailed beyond what we normally hear, and thus exaggerate those tiny details into being audible.

    unknown-user on #151519

    Well, I don’t normally expect to be impressed by sound quality when I surf youtube for harps – however, apropos this discussion, last night I ran across a video which is listed as Grandjany – Fantasy on a theme of Haydn – there is no video, and the notes are a bit vague as to who the harpist is or when it was recorded

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