Reading music – through the strings?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    michael-rockowitz on #162062

    Hi to all,

    Maybe everyone is doing this.

    tony-morosco on #162063

    Well, if it works for you then it works for you. Far be it from me to tell you not to.

    I will say that I have never seen a trained harpist do it, and I can’t really imagine trying to do it that way. I find it not difficult at all to read and play with the music on the left, and if you position your music stand in the right spot and have proper positioning at the harp you don’t need to do any real dramatic twisting of the neck to look back and forth. Besides, eventually with enough practice you don’t need to look at the strings nearly as often as when you are just starting out.

    Turning the pages is one of the reasons the stand is on the left. Also for many people looking through vibrating strings to try to read the notes is distracting to say the least.

    If you are playing for your own enjoyment then do what ever works for you. I think you should be aware of when you are departing from the tried and true methods, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t depart. Just understand that you are.

    Also remember that if you ever decide to take lessons in the future your teacher most likely will insist that

    Audrey Nickel on #162064

    I would say that, if you’re having to twist your head back and forth to see your strings and your music, you don’t have your harp properly positioned.

    Liam M on #162065


    alexander-rider on #162066

    I heard from friends that the great Welsh harpist, Osian Ellis, used to read through the strings, when sightreading in the Orchestra (he was principal harpist with the London Symphony Orchestra). I don’t know if it’s an apocryphal story though! Good Luck Michael! 😉

    michael-rockowitz on #162067

    Tony, Audrey, Liam and Alexander,

    Thank you for your responses.

    barbara-brundage on #162068

    The device you are talking about already exists, but I don’t think it’s very popular. Most musicians find it just plain cumbersome.

    Tacye on #162069

    I have not needed to read through the strings for some time, but it can be useful when for one reason or another two harpists need to share a part and photocopying is not practical.

    Liam M on #162070

    There are a couple of online music readers, Solero is one that comes to mind, that do advance the music for you.

    michael-rockowitz on #162071


    I’m not in the least surprised that this exists.

    barbara-brundage on #162072

    There are a couple of different ones. This is typical:

    For me and for the other musicians I work with the added weight and the worry of potentially damaging an expensive piece of electronics, plus the hassle of getting music into the darn thing all the time far outweigh the minor difficulties of regular sheet music, especially when you consider that for most instruments an entire evening’s worth of music makes a pretty slim folder, when you only have a single line.

    barbara-brundage on #162073

    There are also a couple that are just readers that you sit on a stand, but given how often things fall off/fall onto stands, I’d be terrified that it would get smashed in short order.

    jennifer-buehler on #162074

    I know that Skye Hurlburt, who posts frequently on Harplist, uses one of these.

    carl-swanson on #162075

    Michael- I’m surprised you don’t get splitting headaches constantly refocusing your eyes. That would drive me nuts.

    michael-rockowitz on #162076

    Barbara, Jennifer,

    Now that I’ve seen the device you were referring to – I agree – $1500 is too much for a dedicated unit of this type, that could easily be dropped or damaged, and achieve basically the status of an expensive paperweight (except for being less useful).

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
  • The forum ‘Amateur Harpists’ is closed to new topics and replies.