Most finger room in highest octave?

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    ann reid

    Is it possible to generalize which pedal harps have the most finger room in the highest octave?

    I found a thread about the Salvi Arion in which Carl S. described how to measure finger space, and it got me to wondering if any of the particular harp makers made their harps extra roomy there. I do recall that Carl’s harps have the allowable maximum for space in the upper regions.

    I’m especially curious because I find my teacher’s huge Salvi especially difficult to get around when I have to play anything high.

    Dwyn .

    I keep wondering why the whole neck isn’t reversed, with the discs and strings on the other side.

    Karen Johns

    While I don’t play pedal harp, I have seen this same problem in several brands of lever harp- you get to the upper octaves and practically have to cramp your hand to pluck the strings. The only harp maker that I have found to solve this problem is Heartland Harps with their curved soundboard. However, these are lever harps. The design is based loosely on the Tyrolean harps, which are pedal (?)- but I’m not sure if they have extra room in the upper octaves.


    Sid Humphreys

    Camac harps have lots of room in the upper octives.


    I find Camacs are the easiest harps to play higher up.


    FWIW I remember reading that the founder of Camac was inspired by the old Erards. That might account for the angle you speak of.


    I play an Aoyama Orpheus 47.

    Sid Humphreys

    Bart, you missed what I pointed out in Camac harps. They have more room


    I find there is plenty of room in the highest octave on the Pratt Chamber Harp (lever harp made by John Pratt). And a gorgeous sound in that register (and all others)!


    Jessica- You have it exactly right. The problem with most 20th century harps is that the lower edge of the action plates in the first octave are basically parallel to the soundboard. On the Erard Gothique actions, and the CAMAC actions, the lower edge of the action plate in the first octave is angled up away from the soundboard. Think of a triangle, and then imagine the soundboard surface and the lower edge of the action plate as representing two lines of the triangle. This gives you an enormous amount of space for the right hand in the first octave, and is the reason why so much 19th century repertoire, particularly that of Parish-Alvars and Renie, has difficult technical work for the right hand right up to the last string on the instrument. It was never an issue on those instruments.

    I have a 45 string Lyon & Healy that I rebuilt for myself about 23 years ago, and it has an enormous amount of space in the first octave(which I put there when I engineered the new neck). There are some pieces that I play that I can only play on that instrument. On most other harps I would have bleeding knuckles and still miss a ton of notes.

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