Thank you for reminding me about Peter Muernseer- I can now quote numbers about Tyrolean harps.
Liz Cifani is my inspiration to play this harp!! 🙂 The technique is
the same, it is just a perceptual adjustment. Sometimes i do place one
hand slightly early just to be sure footed since it’s not really
possible to focus
visually on both rows of strings at once. Generally the additional sympathetic
vibrations from the second row of strings hides the muffling when i
place early. Also, there is good reason to reverse the roles of the two
hands based on the lever adjustments for certain passages, so it does
require a greater
degree of ambidextrousness. It is difficult to change the right hand
levers as they are blind. I am still developing the ability to do that
with confidence. I more often preset them. Other than that it is the
same. So far i
prefer the double harp to play jazz for its harmonic flexibility, but
you can’t of course slide pedals. Having the freedom to play the M/m3rds so basic to jazz/blues is a definite benefit.
For a simple improv experiment, set the right levers to d natural
minor, and the left levers to D major. This gives you M/m3rds for the
tonic, subdom, and dominant chords between the two hands (M3rds on the
left, m3rds on the right). You can also get all your m7ths,
but will have to alternate sides of the harp for them based on the
particular chord. (tonic m7th on right row only, subdom m7th on right
only, dom m7th on right or left)
The problem with that is that virtually any motor will make noise. Putting a motor on an instrument is a tricky proposition since an acoustic instrument is designed to amplify and project sound.
So while I am sure mechanically it can be done, I doubt that the end result would be particularly usable.
But who knows, maybe someone has developed super quiet and stable mini electric motors that can do it.
Was Harp Museum rude or just silly? Not sure, myself.
Anyway, you’d need to think about what the demand for such an instrument would be. The Dilling harp was never especially popular, and there was an attempt made at a harp with a mechanically controlled pedal mechanism a few years ago and that idea was received in the harp world with a resounding silence. Pretty nearly any established harp maker is so busy doing what they do now that it’s pretty difficult to get them interested in new ideas, and the problem for someone starting from scratch is that it would also have to be a pretty darned good instrument to draw market share from the established makers. Not saying it couldn’t be done, but it’s a pretty big problem, one that definitely brings Victor’s “economy of scale” front and center.
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