April 6, 2008 at 11:56 pm #68559April 7, 2008 at 1:37 am #68560
Wouldn’t it be a lot easier just to learn to play the pedal harp? (I can’t imagine it would be any more expensive than what you are suggesting.)April 7, 2008 at 2:07 am #68561
This sounds like the new mechanism in self-tuning guitars. No offense intended, but this proposal sounds like it would cause more problems than it would solve. If you don’t want pedals, there are (or have been) lever harps that have seven levers on the neck or column that serve the same purpose as pedals.
An automated mechanism to move the levers would probably take up more space in the neck than an action linkage and add to the weight and, most important, would make a sound, whereas a smoothly regulated action would (ideally) be silent. Even the quietest servos can be heard during operation. Harps seem to function better with mechanical systems than electronic ones (electric harps notwithstanding). And as we’ve seen with cars, the more complicated features we add, the more the car’s in the shop.April 7, 2008 at 2:16 pm #68562tony-moroscoMember
I agree with the others. Such a system would add a lot of weight and expense to the harp to the point where it makes more sense to just go with a pedal harp. There are petite model pedal harps that are smaller and lighter than even a semi-grand, but are still double action pedal harps. It makes much more sense to go with that.
Or you can go with a MIDI harp. You can use the same basic concept, only instead of mechanically changing the pitch of the physical string it simply alters the the sound generated by the sound module for that strings signal. Of course then you have to deal with the extra equipment needed for MIDI, but it still would be a lot simpler, and it is already available and tested.April 7, 2008 at 10:32 pm #68563
As the initiator of this post, I’d like to thank those who have contributed feedback, and try to respond to their comments.
Honestly, I don’t know whether there are insuperable obstacles in developing this alternative harp mechanism.April 8, 2008 at 3:47 am #68564john-strandParticipant
Michael – you will have to dig around some to find this – I think it was in a harp journal around close to 20 years ago – a harp was built using a computer module that was attached to the music stand – the module controlled a system of oil filled plastic tubes in the baseApril 8, 2008 at 3:53 am #68565john-strandParticipant
PS – have a look at the little “Wagner” harp that is somewhere on this site – it looks like a lever harp on a stand with 3 pedals connected by rods – I don’t know why they only did 3 pedals, but it seems like it might be something in the direction you are going –April 8, 2008 at 12:58 pm #68566rod-andersonParticipant
John – you may be thinking of this special made by Horngacher (see link).April 8, 2008 at 2:07 pm #68567
That harp was invented by Joel Garnier, the late director of Camac harps.April 8, 2008 at 2:18 pm #68568
Just to clarify, you mean the computerized hydraulic harp, right, Catherine?
Garnier worked on this for years before deciding that such a thing just wasn’t feasible, incidentally.April 8, 2008 at 3:12 pm #68569
Yes, that’s the one. It was an interesting concept but I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t catch on. It made me think of that warning label on appliances and home electronics: “No user serviceable parts inside!”April 8, 2008 at 6:15 pm #68570TacyeParticipant
Hmm, the cheapest pedal harp I have found a price for on the web is 2500 euros (including 19% tax)…April 9, 2008 at 6:40 am #68571April 9, 2008 at 9:46 am #68572April 9, 2008 at 2:40 pm #68573
> I haven’t been able to find the harp with just 7 controlling levers. I wouldn’t mind looking at that more closely. Does anyone have more precise information on where it’s found?
It is the Dilling Model Harp, which was made by Arslaan Fay. He lost all his tools and equipment in Hurricane Charley a few years ago. I don’t know if he has tooled up to make them again.
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