Newbie saying hello! (A boy!!)

Posted In: How To Play

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    duckspeaks on #189428

    Hello community. I have been reading this forum for a year and just wanting to thank you all for the generosity and wealth of knowledge shared. This is a wonderful community!

    Yes I am a boy!

    balfour-knight on #189430

    Welcome to another male harpist! So glad you are enjoying Harp Column–I love it too. Where else could you find this kind of a community of caring harpists who are so varied in the types of harps and music they play? Some of us are “old” and some very young, as it takes all types and ages of people to “make the world go around.” Please tell us more about yourself–cute profile picture, by the way! My sweet wife and I love ducks!

    My very best to you,

    duckspeaks on #189432

    Dear Balfour and community,

    I took up the instrument at the tender age of 50 last year. always wanted to but didn’t realise boys can do it as well. I cut my fingernails (classical guitar) but no regret. Started with a Crescendo now Mademoiselle. I play by ear and recognise that much tweaks to the original music is often required. I dislike harps with low tension because I treasure stability of tone. I know this is a lifetime hobby.

    Ducks are truly amazing. I spend much time watching them!

    This forum is a lovely place!


    balfour-knight on #189456

    I also prefer higher tension strings on the harp, just like the heavier touch on a grand piano compared to most uprights. I know this is a matter of personal taste, however!
    Happy Harping,

    Marco Hilgeman on #189504

    Hi Duckspeaks,

    Here’s yet another male harpist who welcomes you to the forum! We’re definitely not alone here though, but it’s always good to increase our numbers…not that it’s a competition anyway 🙂

    I’m one male harpist who didn’t cut his nails by the way (on the right hand that is), for the specific style I play requires nails (it’s the Vollenweider style).

    Interesting to read that you play by ear as I do that as well…I do write my own music but I don’t write nor read scores.

    Lots of useful info here indeed – you’ve already been reading a lot apparently this past year – and it’s good that you finally became an active member. Enjoy HC forums!

    Biagio on #189508

    Not sure if I qualify as a boy – hit 65 last month ha ha. Regarding the nails – I sometimes play the wire strung with pads and sometimes the nylon with fingernails depending on the effect and tone I want. The “trick” is in how you file (not cut) your nails.


    balfour-knight on #189509

    Biagio, I think that all of us are “boys,” ha, ha! Just ask my sweet wife–she always says “boys will be boys!” Marco, maybe Duckspeaks can use his right-hand nails, at least. I never learned how to do that, and it would bother me too much while playing the piano and organ. I think everyone has to find his own special technique of playing.

    I also enjoy playing “by ear” and have done it since I was five years old. But my parents insisted that I would get a good musical education, all the way through a Master’s degree. I am glad that I can read and write music, but my true joy is playing by ear and improvising!

    All of you have a great day,

    balfour-knight on #189550

    Duckspeaks, I was just curious to know why you thought that “boys” could not play the harp. I encountered this sort of thing at a recent wedding I played for. There was a 10-year-old girl there who had taken a couple of years of harp lessons. After the wedding was over, I let her play my harp and she was very good at it. Her older brother was standing nearby, and I asked him if he had ever played the harp, too. He answered, “I thought it was only for girls!” Then he added quickly “of course, you are a man, and my sister takes lessons from a man harpist, so I guess it is ‘okay’ for men to play the harp!” I was astonished and amused, all at the same time.

    I do hope that more boys will find out that they can play the harp, and of course, any other instrument they would like to learn how to play.

    My best to you all,

    Sylvia on #189551

    Considering all the muscle work involved, it’s more of a guy’s instrument than a girl’s…unless you are a living room harpist.
    The really great harpists were men. Zabaleta (my favorite) and Grandjany. (Everyone has an opinion on that.) But Zabaleta had a guy who moved his harp. I saw him in person twice. Of course, he could afford to have a harp mover.
    My teacher was a man, a former Salzedo student. I came up in an era where men dominated the harp world, so it seems strange to me that anyone would think men didn’t belong there.

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