Harp Volume

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #164449

    Well, it seems like my harp purchase keeps getting pushed further and further away. My husband and I have decided that it’s best to wait until we live in a house before I buy a harp because of the noise. We are in a condo and the walls are very thin, so my playing would definitely bother the neighbors (not to mention my husband).

    Anyway, I was just wondering if any of you here had anything to say on the subject. We’re hoping to move to a house sometime early next year, but I’m concerned that even then I will be a nuisance to my husband because he often works at home and it bothers him now when I play my keyboard at a low volume in another room. I bought headphones and resolved that problem easily (except that I can’t ususally sing along to any of my playing) but I don’t know of any way to mute an acoustic harp.

    From what I understand, the harp I am saving up for (Ravenna 26) carries VERY well, which may actually be a problem in my case.

    Any personal experiences or guidance would be extremely helpful!

    Thanks to all, and my apologies for contributing to the Jane Doe-ism silliness last week. I hope I didn’t make things worse!

    barbara-brundage on #164450

    The harp doesn’t bother people! I’ve never lived in a single family home and I’ve never had a problem. I once lived in an apartment building with interior hallways and I would often be disconcerted when coming out of my apartment to find my neighbors sitting in the hall on lawn chairs, enjoying the sound (and that was when I *practiced*, so they’d been listening to one measure over and over and over for a couple of hours). The place I lived before that, my next door neighbors encouraged me not to wait till later in the morning to practice because they loved waking up to harp music.

    It’s possible you might encounter a curmudgeon, but I’d never let that remote possiblity keep me from getting a harp!

    barbara-brundage on #164451

    Incidentally, at need you can stuff towels in the harp body and that will reduce the volume a bit.

    catherine-rogers on #164452

    You can also thread a long strip of felt between the strings to muffle the sound, although practicing that way is not as much fun. When I lived in an apartment and a dorm in college, I never had any complaints as long as I practiced between 9am and 9pm.

    Jerusha Amado on #164453


    Of everything that you said in this post, the fact that you are worried about your husband’s reaction concerns me the most.

    Jerusha Amado on #164454

    If you move to a house, then the neighbors shouldn’t be an issue.

    unknown-user on #164455

    Thanks for all the advice! The more I think about it, the more it seems like it’s more my husband than the neighbors. Our condo just isn’t big enough for me to play a harp anywhere without bothering him, but once we have a house, that should change.

    Jerusha, it’s like you said–my husband just can’t concentrate with noise, and he’s working most of the time, whether at the office or at home. As easy as it is for me to get in a huff about wanting to have my own way, I do have to respect his feelings and I’m sure we will come to a mutual agreement.

    All of your suggestions were great and are much appreciated!! If worse comes to worse, I could always go with the felt idea or the noise-cancelling earphones when need be. I’m sure I would be happy just to have a harp!

    sherry-lenox on #164456

    Do a little research online before you purchase noise cancelling earphones too. The best (really really expensive) ones aren’t necessarily “the best”. Very good ones can be gotten for less than the BIG NAME kind.

    sherry-lenox on #164457

    Also, before I expressed my feminist perspective that you should play whenever you want and let that man know he can’t push you around, I fortunately remembered that I can’t do paperwork of any kind

    unknown-user on #164458

    Haha, well I understand where you’re coming from. We’re actually pretty much newlyweds (it’ll be one year next month) and still getting used to all the changes that happen when you have to share your life with someone else, but I’m sure we’ll work out all the little kinks with some time and patience.

    As far as the noise-cancelling earphones, my hubby already has those fancy etymotic ones, which I believe are noise-cancelling, so maybe that would be the best compromise.

    I’ll still probably wait to get a harp until after we move just to make the move less complicated (and since it’s reasonably close to the date I was going to get a harp anyway). I’ll also probably rent-to-own or at least go to the closest dealer (about two hours from here) to test one.

    kay-lister on #164459

    Becky – I can’t imagine the harp bothering ANYONE!

    andy-b on #164460

    “Your neighbors will probably have their ears pressed against the wall just to listen to you.

    andy-b on #164461

    Kidding aside, Kay is right, Becky, your husband may find the harp so soothing he’ll be encouraging you to play both during his work time as well as after to help him relax.

    kay-lister on #164462

    Andy – I wondered if anyone would pick up on that.

    unknown-user on #164463

    Andy, that was a good one. 🙂

    Kay, I hope you’re right. It makes sense to me. For whatever reason he’s expecting not to like the sound of a harp (I know, I don’t get it either), but maybe he’ll warm up to it once he finally hears it in person. He likes classical guitar, especially LAGQ, and to me it sounds very similar to harp because of the nylon strings.

    Anyway, I think he’ll come around, and then he can convert anyone else who has their doubts about harp music. 🙂

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