Greetings, I’m a 50 year-old stay-at-home father and active on a couple of other music instrument forums–enjoy discussions on wide ranging musical subjects.
Ive been in love with musical instruments since the age of 7 when school-based arts instruction was still a priority in public schools and I was provided a saxophone on which I excelled. But it only lasted a few years until I began studying guitar. I later studied all stringed folk instruments as well as doublebass and fiddle. I’ve played in ensembles of all kinds including salsa, reggae, Dixie-style ragtime, rock, blues, country, Irish trad, Scandi and American traditional styles.
I’ve always wanted to play harp, but never committed as I was always too occupied with all the other instruments, as well as a large hammered dulcimer on which I assuaged my ear for harp tunes and learned a repertoire of O’carolan tunes–which I’ve collected over the last twenty or so years and play on many instruments including HD, fiddle, mandolins, flute, concertinas, and of course guitar. But what I’ve always wanted was a harp, but I never located a wire-strung and always maintained long nails on my right hand for classical and flamenco guitar.
Well, a couple of years ago I finally gave up playing solo guitar–as I rarely practiced as I was having too much fun with folk music. Now that I had finally devoted myself increasingly to folk music, the problem was that my hammered dulcimer is too unwieldy for many playing opportunities–it weighs 40 pounds. Finally acquired a modest 22 string but ideal for travel and tutoring my kids.
It’s everything I’ve imagined it would be: i find that it satisfies my tactile need to have strings in my hands, as well as being very intuitive. I immediately set about learning my O’carolan repertoire. For better or worse, my hammered dulcimer will be going unplayed now–but what I really wanted was to be able to play my repertoire conveniently…which the lap harp affords.
I’m becoming increasingly immersed in Irish traditional music as I also play fiddle, concertina, and a bit of flute. I find there is tremendous depth of expression in this idiom–and with my harp enough to satisfy me most of the time (I also gig in various bands for fun and currently play keys/synths in a weekly performing ensemble, so I have lots of opportunities to assuage my musical imagination).
But the harp satisfies like no other, frankly (as I’m sure you all know). Sorry for the long rant!