Play lever harp pieces on pedal harp?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    daniele-di on #156417


    sorry for the silly question but I am a beginner.
    I`m going to send back my 26 strings lever harp soon and rent a pedal harp.
    I love the lever harp and I have lots of lovely folk music pieces to play with it, but I also want to try a pedal harp to understand what fits better for me.

    My question is, can lever harp pieces be played on pedal harps? well, I know that probably the answer is yes, but maybe I am missing some point…is there some sort of difficulties-obstacle to play lever harp pieces with a pedal harp?

    Thank you


    kay-lister on #156418

    Daniele – yes you can.

    barbara-brundage on #156419

    The only thing you would really need to watch out for is that when you move a pedal all the strings with that note change together. So sometimes in lever harp pieces you may have a chord with a C# on top and a C natural on the bottom in a lever harp arrangement, for instance. On the pedal harp you would need to think to use D flat for the top note instead, or else B# for the bottom one, as an example. But you won’t find that sort of thing very often.

    daniele-di on #156420

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    Well, I hope some day I`ll have both a pedal and a lever harp 🙂 but for now I`m in that period where I have to find what suits better for me.

    I want to try the pedal harp mainly because most of the pieces I`d like to play are piano pieces and they told me that probably a pedal harp would be the best choice.
    I don`t know if it`s completely true, maybe a big lever harp would be enough…but I`d like to try anyway 🙂

    Thank you


    barbara-brundage on #156421

    Well, you’ll find the same thing pretty often in piano music. Part of playing the pedal harp is get good at learning when you need to substitute the enharmonic note for the written one. It’s a basic skill for pedal harp playing, so you should be fine with a little practice at it.

    tony-morosco on #156422

    What Barbara said :^)

    Yes, there are some things that rarely show up in lever harp music that prove to be a challenge on a pedal harp, but not impossible. Playing enharmonic equivalents to the notes written is one way around many of those (admittedly few) instances.

    What you are more likely to find is not that there is music for the lever harp you can’t play on the pedal harp. I have never come across anything arranged for levers that was impossible to play on pedal harp. Rather you will find that some music is easier on one harp or the other.

    A single lever change on a piece for lever harp may translate into multiple pedal changes when played on a pedal harp. Say at some point in a piece you have to raise the C below middle C to sharp, and for the rest of the piece that particular note is played sharp. But you have to play Cs in the treble as natural. On lever harp you just throw that C lever below middle C to sharp and you are done. On pedal harp you have to change the pedal back and forth every time you play the low C vs. the high C. And as Barbara said, if you have to play both at the same time you have to play one of them on the enharmonic equivalent.

    But I can’t ever remember coming across anything written for lever harp that I couldn’t play on pedal harp. I just prefer to use the harp that is best suited for the way the music is arranged. But a great deal of lever harp music has no problem being played on one or the other.

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