Harp studio

Posted In: Coffee Break

  • Participant
    Andelin on #189667

    I have the wonderful privilege of designing a harp room from scratch–we are building a new house. The music room will be shared with the office/computer.

    My question is about flooring. Would you use wood or vinyl or carpet? I lean toward a hard surface (not carpet) but am concerned it will be too echoey. The room is going to be about 9 x 14 feet with 10 foot ceiling.

    I want to teach lessons there, and obviously it will be my practice room. And my piano might also go in there. And my son will most likely practice violin there too. Hopefully not all at the same time. :).

    What is your dream harp studio like? Thanks in advance for your thoughts or suggestions.

    Spectator
    Sid Humphreys on #189676

    I prefer the wood floor under the harp. It helps the sound to carry as it also resonates with the instrument. Carpet seems to mud the sound as it absorbs too much. Vinyl isn’t bad but come on, you’re building your dream house! Now, here’s something else to consider; I have plank porcelain tiles that look like scraped hardwood. They don’t scratch easily as wood does (in fact, I drag the harp all over the living room without leaving marks). Water doesn’t hurt it at all either. It doesn’t resonate quite as well as wood floor but they serve me very well.
    You may want an area rug in the room as well as drapery on the window to absorb the echo. Good luck!

    Member
    Angela Biggs on #189678

    Hi Andelin,

    My harp room is 120 sq ft, and yours will be 126 sq ft. I have two bookcases for music and supplies, a desk, a Rinnai space-saving heater, a dehumidifier, a cajon, a Harpsicle on a stand, five Harpsicles hanging on the wall, and my performance harp in the middle of the room. The room is currently at max capacity if I don’t want to feel squished every time I walk in there (though my ceilings are lower than standard and yours will be quite high). The quarters are too close to teach there. My dream harp studio will be at least 15- and preferably 20×20. Then I could add a pedal harp to my fleet. 🙂

    My current harp room was originally carpeted. It kills all the sound and really decreases the pleasure of playing. Right now the floor is linoleum stick-on tiles, and they’re much better than the carpet. When I take my harp out to teach on the wood laminate floors in the dining room, I don’t notice an appreciable difference between laminate and linoleum. I’ve only played on wood at churches, and there’s a lot more going on acoustically in that setting, so I can’t comment on wood. However, I second Sid’s recommendation to go with a hard floor and add throw rugs or curtains if you find the acoustics too live. And if you can use real wood or tile, do it, if only for the value of your house. Linoleum and laminate’s primary recommendation is simply price.

    Participant
    Gretchen Cover on #189691

    I have my harps in a room with tile floor and high ceilings. The sound is great. However, anything that drops on tile shatters. Unless you put the tiles close together, the grout is a pain to keep clean. We used an epoxy color sealer but when it wore after 10 years, the second go-round with the epoxy did not adhere well. We have a new synthetic wood floor in our upstairs. It is commercial grade. The brand escapes me it but it comes in panels approx 4 feet by 8 inches that are pliable – not snap-in. It is simply laid down and the installer uses a roller to flatten and smooth the floor. We put quarter rounding over it along the baseboards (the baseboard were already in place). You cannot tell it is not wood. I would do the whole house over again with that.

    My dream room would have a walk-in closet to store everything. Be sure to have lots of outlets. You may want to consider a floor outlet(s) in the room.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #189697

    Hi, Andelin and everyone,

    How exciting to be designing and building your harp room! (and your new house!) Does this mean that you have purchased a pedal harp finally? I have thought of you this summer, and just said to Carol Lynn, wonder if Andelin has found a pedal harp?

    I agree with all the posts–go with a hard surface, wood if you can. My harp/pipe organ room has a hardwood floor, plaster walls and an acoustical-tile ceiling. I feel like the sound in there is perfect! Just the right balance of live acoustics without too much echo.

    Best wishes to all,
    Balfour

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #189703

    I personally would find a harp room with a wood floor too loud. I would at least plan on putting a small(4 X 6 or so) oriental rug down to absorb some sound. If you have other things in the room, like lots of books, that can help absorb sound as well. I don’t want a dead room. But I don’t want a loud room with a sharp echo either. It’s not a concert hall. It’s a work room.

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #189704

    I definitely recommend a hardwood floor, preferably somewhat hollow underneath. It will give you a good bass resonance, to complement the treble that nice ten-foot ceiling will give you. I would try to divide the room, so the office part is not visible or audible. A large mirror is very helpful to have on a wall by the harp, especially for teaching. I think the ceiling can’t be too high.

    Participant
    hearpe on #189735

    This is an interesting discussion. I’ve been playing my Roosebeck 29 Heather harp mostly in my living room on a shag carpet or in my lap. After reading this I took it into my kitchen where there is a hardwood floor. What a difference! And I think largely because the harp is a standup harp with no legs otherwise- it rests on the bottom of the sound box when standing, and I was surprised to see when I got it that it has the same sort of carvings that are on the sides (I may have to smooth those out there, because I think I’d like to get or make a stand with some legs on it) Anyway, the volume and resonance of the harp is much improved by direct contact with the hardwood floor. I don’t think I’ll play it in the kitchen out of a course of habit, but I may if I intend to record or videotape because the sound is so much better there.

    On another note, I’ve also done just a little bit of sanding on the inside of the sound box- just one small square of sandpaper and about ten minutes- just on the sides of the sound box and a slight bit on the back- There are four sound holes so I can get my hand to most of it- I think I’ve noticed a slight improvement in sound already, and so likely to keep going small amounts at a time in the future.

    It’s a curse I got started on with guitars, and I found that I can make almost any guitar sound better by sanding things down inside and letting the sound waves bounce around in a more hollow cavity that offers less mass to dull the vibrations. The harp has no internal bracing much in the way like a guitar- I first got started on a 3/4 sized classical guitar they’d put the same full sized bracing into and that was really closing down the airspace to the sound hole.

    Anyway, thanks for the topic. My whole house has become my studio I guess, and I try not to trip over the instruments.

    Participant
    Biagio on #189737

    What a blessing it would be to have one room dedicated to music! Oh how I wish….there are a few practical matters to consider aside from acoustics: lighting (track is good); stable storage areas especially in earth quake country; a rolling book case next to the harp when practicing with a top holding pencils, white out, wrench and water etc.

    Harper Tasche BTW recommends practicing in different places, not just one. I draw the line at the bathroom but see his point:-)

    Biagio

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #189741

    This is a good thread! I agree, it would be so nice to have one room dedicated to music. Our “harp room” has the pipe organ in it, a hammered dulcimer, two sewing machines, bobbin-lace pillow with stand, writing desk, and storage shelves for music, books, etc. Every room of this tiny house does triple duty, but we enjoy it, ha, ha!

    Cheers everyone,
    Balfour

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