Lever harp in HS Orchestra?

  • Participant
    Christine Goodnough on #255588

    My daughter is a high school junior. She does not play the harp at school, but takes lessons. As luck might have, she followed a friend onto the band room and the band teacher said “who are you?!” Then… “Do you play an instrument?” And she replied “harp”… and then he replied… IVE BEEN LOOKING FOR A HARPIST FOR SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRA! And told her to sign up. She did explain that she plays the lever harp. He said… whatever you need… I’ll get it. BUT. Her instructor says pedal harp is more suitable for orchestra. There are many constraints there, first of which, she doesn’t play pedal harp. Her instructor thinks she doesn’t have time to learn, including both the pedals and the symphonic songs over the summer. It would take 2 hours practice daily. Second of course is… we don’t have a pedal harp at home to practice. Nor is it in the cards. So… my question is…. do high schools sometimes use lever harps? Can a lever harp be used in a symphony, particularly at the high school level? I know it’s not as loud or deep amidst an orchestra. But I of course, love the idea of her exploring this.

    Participant
    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #256454

    https://harpcolumn.com/forums/topic/lever-harp-parts-for-orchestra/ has some answers for you. I recommended several pieces that work.
    There are some pieces that can work, but many that cannot. I’m looking into this subject right now for a summer course I’m teaching.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #256525

    Interesting, I just discovered after all these years of playing it on pedal harp, that I can play the Nutcracker cadenza to the Waltz of the Flowers on my 36-string Dusty lever harp. The low A that my harp does not have can be achieved by tuning the low C down to that A, (thanks, Gregg!) and the highest note of the cadenza is B, which is already on the harp! Enjoy, my friends!

    Harp Hugs,
    Balfour

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