Just when you think you’ve heard everything said about a harp, a new one popped up last night. As I was finishing playing for an awards reception, a woman walked up to me and asked sincerely, “Does your harp come apart for you to move it?” I kept myself from bursting out laughing and made a mental note to share this. Anyone else with new experiences?
I did hear that once. I just said I really wished it did.
Clarinets, French horns, etc. DO dismantle for transport…but something as big as a harp…well, that’s stretching it.
I was getting ready to put my harp into my station wagon yesterday after a wedding, and a guy asked if I was going to lean it over to put it in. I wondered if he thought I was going to somehow chuck it in there vertically.
I had a nightmare about that once, that my harp was designed to be dismantled in order to move it, and some in-house stage crew tried to put it back together at my destination and destroyed it.
(As an aside, I played French horn in high school and the only thing you dismantle is the mouthpiece – you pull it out of the horn, then pop the whole horn into its molded case. That’s still much more moveable than a harp, but it doesn’t actually come apart for transport. There are several slides you can pull off for cleaning.)
Some horns have bells that can screw on and off. Not all. It makes them much more transportable on a plane.
I was getting ready to put my harp in the back of my Prius, and someone asked me (jokingly) “does that thing fold up?” I said, “no, but I do. It’s a very tight squeeze.”
Heh heh, sometimes I wish I played the flute! On the other hand, I’m sometimes asked “When will you get a real harp?”
I patiently explain that if that means a pedal harp I tried it for a while but found it a bit awkward; and that the one I play (a wire claersach) IS the “real” harp.
Just kidding around a little But at least twice folks have been so interested in the history that they took up the instrument; sometimes pedal, sometimes lever.
I once had to remain tight lipped while playing at a wedding where I overheard a dad on a nearby table attempt to answer his son’s harp-related questions. The child was obviously really interested but the Dad had nooooo idea. The pedals, apparently “turn up the volume” and “it all folds up so she can take it home”. Oh, and it’s EXACTLY the same as a piano without its box.
I was being introduced to the audience before a concert I did on pedal harp at a retirement center, several years ago. The theme of the program was “Isn’t It Romantic.” The sweet lady thought that it would be nice if she opened with a joke. She said, “you know, the harp is actually a NAKED piano, ha, ha!” That was the first time my wife and I had heard that, but it certainly was not the last, ha, ha!:)
This isn’t new, but when people ask me the “don’t you wish you played the flute?” one, I get to smile and say, “Actually, I DID play flute (and piccolo), but I like the harp a lot more.”
I recently harped for our school district’s music program fundraiser, and the MC stopped me mid-set (just a few tunes, it was a variety show) to ask me questions about the “Seltic” harp. She also asked the flute question. 🙂
And, instead of just asking me to tell a bit about it, or explain the strings/levers, she would offer her speculations and made-up names. Then I would have to try to explain harp reality without seeming like I was contradicting everything she said! “Oooooh and the button-thingys up at the tops of the strings, are they decorations? They’re pretty!” (And I’m thinking: Oh, the levers? That I literally just explained and demonstrated? Can I just play my next tune now please?)
Haha It was cute…
It must have been a bumper evening. I’ve stopped reacting with disdain to the onslaught and started enjoying the banter. The confused questions prevail so now I just pause take a breath and try to find a reasonable or humorous answer and heard myself saying : “it’s MY instrument”, “in my car”… and then after removing overly helpful guy’s arm from harp neck: “well, just stand there”(which puzzled him) and a few weeks ago “yes it’s an octave” and “something like that, I’m still working it out myself, think I’ve just about got the hang of them by now!” You know the questions…..!! Thank god I am not a celebratory.
Opera rehearsal. I’m sitting there with my harp before rehearsal, right, and this stagehand comes up and says….oh, are you going to play the harp? So I said…no, I’m just going to sit here with it. Then I guess he realized he had said something kind of stupid.
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