New Harp Trick

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    Pat Eisenberger on #160676

    Lately I’ve been experiencing elbow pain because I’m working on a piece that is in the top-most register of my harp. This caused me to have my elbow behind my head, and my arm squeezed closed as tight as I could get it, resulting in horrible hand position, and constantly missed strings. Yesterday I remembered a trick that Frank Voltz taught us at The Harp Gathering – so I tried it. I brought my knees together and leaned back my harp to rest upon them. I was then able to lean back at the waist (slightly), which brought the harp off of my shoulder. I was then able to play in the upper register with my elbow opened significantly, and allowing a proper hand position and greatly improved accuracy.

    The ease of this trick and this simplicity of the solution brought an amused chuckle from me. I then tried the manuver playing from the middle of the piece, which had me sitting in the normal position. As I played into the upper register, I was shocked to find that the transition from position #1 to position #2 was fluid and flawless. No more chuckles – I started to laugh! That brought my husband peeking around the corner. I’d never laughed while playing the harp before.

    It was one of those, “Duh!” moments in life. It might be a problem if I had to use the pedals in position #2 – but for this music it was perfection.

    Am I the last person to learn this trick? If not – pass it on! Try it, if you haven’t, and let me know if it’s as good for you as it is for me…

    Member
    tony-morosco on #160677

    I rarely

    Participant
    Pat Eisenberger on #160678

    I was also taught the Salzedo method, and my elbows are normally much higher than other harpists, but you’re right – I don’t keep them parallel to the floor.

    I’m leaning more and more to Celtic music, and am even getting a Celtic harp made (have I mentioned that before?

    Participant
    Pat Eisenberger on #160679

    Oops – forgot to thank you for the tip about using the knees more, Tony. My teacher never mentioned doing that. Perhaps because she’s under 5 feet tall and it may not be an option for her. I’ll try it out more often!

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #160680

    >I’ll try it out more often!

    If you’re sitting properly at a pedal harp, the harp should be pretty nearly at the balance point, where a single finger would suffice to hold it in position, and it should rest on the inside of your right knee, pretty much. You need your shoulders to be free to allow full movt of your arm, regardless of what method you play. If the harp is really leaning any significant weight on your shoulder, you’re asking for all kinds of physical trouble down the road if you practice much. Usually you’re sitting to far away or too low if the harp is leaning its weight on you. It also makes the harp rock around in a very distracting way when you play.

    There are a few harps out there that have no balance point, but not very many, fortunately.

    Participant
    renate-kvalsvik on #160681

    This was one of the first things my teacher taught me when

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