How important are sharping levers?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    Peg . on #156901

    I’m just starting out and would like buy rather than rent a harp.

    Member
    tony-morosco on #156902

    In the long run, you want a full set of levers.

    At first it may be OK, but eventually you will want to play in different keys and having to retune the harp every time you want to play in a different key is annoying. Also at some point you most likely will want to play something with accidentals in it.

    But even if all the music you choose is diatonic, like most traditional Celtic music, you will still need to play in different keys. Particularly if you want to ever play with other people. Also if you have a smaller harp you may need to change keys to get a piece to fall within the range of the harp. And most definitely if

    Participant
    Elizabeth L on #156903

    How important are black keys on a piano?

    Participant
    Dwyn . on #156904

    Levers can be added later, so if you want to keep your initial costs down, you could buy a harp without levers, or with just C and F levers, and add levers later.

    Participant
    Peg . on #156905

    I can see your points about the long-term, and I agree with you that having the levers right from the start would be the best way to go.

    Participant
    Peg . on #156906

    LOL — point taken!

    Member
    tony-morosco on #156907

    For $300 difference I say go for it. Adding them later will almost certainly cost more.

    For instance, Truitt levers cost $15.75 each. So assuming you have a 30 string harp, and you get partial levers, say on Cs and Fs, that leaves (depending on what note the harp begins and ends on) 21 or 22 strings that still need levers.

    So say 21 strings, that comes to $315 just for the additonal levers. Then you either

    Participant
    sidney-butler on #156908

    Levers are REALLY important.

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #156909

    Sidney, you might want to contact Robert Cunningham in Atlanta, too. He has a sort of blade lever for his harps which also have strings too close to the neck for regular levers:

    http://www.cunninghamharps.com/

    Keymaster
    HBrock25 on #156910

    From the end of Neolithic times in Egypt (5000 BC) to the end of the medieval period, people have played harps with no need of sharping levers ! The angels represented playing harps on Gothic cathedrals’ sculptures did not use sharping levers..maybee they were playing out of tune ? Actually, most of south-american harp players do not use sharping levers.
    A harp sounds always better when it is played

    Member
    tony-morosco on #156911

    It all depends on the music you play. If I played nothing past the medieval period, or perhaps if I were an angel, then sure, levers would not be an issue. But then the gods created chromatic music.

    Since the majority of the music I play on lever harp would be pretty much impossible to play without levers, I find them rather indispensable. And a beginner who doesn’t know for a fact that they only want to play diatonic music from now till eternity would do well to consider levers.

    Participant
    sherry-lenox on #156912

    Your measured response is both enlightening and humorously ironic. I was ready to let fly this morning when I read the previous post, but you responded in a manner much more appropriate than mine would have been.

    OP you will want as many levers as possible right from day one. You can play period music by not using your levers, but try playing diatonic music without them!

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