"Harper" or "Harpist" does it matter?

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    hearpe on #189635

    Are “harpers” usually called “harpers” or “harpists”? Or maybe I should ask if “hapists” are usually called “harpists” or “harpers”?

    Is there any consensus and who would be the authority to decide such a thing of semantics?

    I think I prefer “harpers” myself, because harpist sound too much like someone “pissed off” or something

    I think maybe the Question comes down to the Biblical Story of David and his harp.

    When David played played soothing tunes that pleased his Lord Saul, everything was all peachy keen, but when Saul would get pissed (har- pist) off then he’d throw a spear at David. I can’t tell you off hand whether David or anyone else is then referred to as a harper or harpist in the Bible. Isn’t it “Harpers harping”? in the Twelve Days of Christmas?

    Buy contrast is the other “french” ending- de post facto? Probably. Har-per- and the french word for Father, or “per”. Not sure what that means in context though. Anyone got any ideas?

    As I’ve made a study of languages through the years- and about how they relate to each other mostly- studying individual words, as I still only speak English fluently, but can decipher much of Spanish and French and better that written…..

    I’ve been intrigued by how many words actually may relate to our “harp”-
    hard, harm happy, hari cari (holy cow!) hart, hark- (an archaic word not used much these days that seems to also relate conveniently to “ark”) Harl- Harley Davidson? Ha!, harness (harnessed, never “harnist”) hawk, hardy har har! (well, you Noe Ralph! Hurls!….) HARPOON! Now there’s a good one Captain Abba-Blabba!
    and on and on and on, the further deviations from the original word are many and varied.

    Then there is also The Sweet PsalmIST of Israel: I honestly can’t recall if that is David or his son Solomon

    Anyway, it’s been of some interesting speculation now and then- people reflect where they are at, but may not always be that thing, so labeling people is often to harangue them I think, therefore They R!

    Biagio on #189642

    General consensus among those who study such things is that there were two instruments both of which are translated (inaccurately) as “harp” in the King James Bible. There is “nebel” or “nevel” which we would today call a lyre and the “kinnor” – somewhat closer to what we think of today in shape but very different otherwise.

    People who make distinctions might say “harpist” means one who plays the pedal harp, “harper” one who plays a Celtic style but – oh my – what does that mean? Wire people who are into that stuff call themselves “clarsairs.”

    Maybe we should go with “harperist” – grin.


    duckspeaks on #189643

    Or harpophiles, like audiophiles?
    I think we are special enough as a category to earn the “phile” suffix, there being enough attachment and harpo-philia involved

    Andelin on #189664

    I’ve heard it explained this way–a harpist is one who plays harp for the harp music, whereas a Harper is one who plays in order to accompany another instrument, usually one’s own voice. I don’t know if others will agree or disagree, but that is how I think of it. Harpists may tend to focus more on repertoire, theory, technique, difficulty level, while a Harper may focus more on the poetry of a song or accompaniment for another instrument.

    But don’t confuse level of ability or talent. Some think of harpers as being less talented than harpists, but that is not my opinion.

    I don’t think a person has to be one or the other. You can be both.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #190284

    It’s very simple. Harper is a folk-music term.

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