Secondary resonator for the harp

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    Sid Humphreys on #162149


    I think it’s because it has feet that you get the resoation ( the whole platform vibrates as you play). Even at the church where I play, the stage area is a carpeted wooden platform and even that helps the sound. Without the carpet would be even better. That’s why this appeals to me. And yes, hinges would stop that vibration as well as any joints, it needs to be a solid piece of wood.


    michael-rockowitz on #162150

    Bernhard, Sid,

    I see what your saying about a single, unbroken (preferably longer) piece of wood.

    Liam M on #162151

    Mike you certainly have my respect. Great job!!

    Sid Humphreys on #162152

    Jill Levy’s platform (that her dad built for her) had wood feet. The rubber feet in the platform we’re discussing shouldn’t affect the sound as long as the rubber doesn’t butt up to the wood. I’m thinking hardwood because of its durability, remember, the harp will be scooted (is that a word?) around on it which would quickly damage a softer wood platform.


    michael-rockowitz on #162153


    I could see that with 1 string of a particular frequency going into a brass soundboard (whatever that would sound like) and another string tuned to the same frequency ending at a wood soundboard, the soundbox could quickly get unwieldly.

    michael-rockowitz on #162154
    Sid Humphreys on #162155

    I know it will be simple to make, but I don’t have time anymore. I’d like to use spruce for the platform top but that may be hard to come by. I’ll have to do some research to see what will provide the best free vibration for the harp.

    Liam M on #162156

    Mike…. Unwieldy is quite the mild term. Hence the sound box in front!

    The second string idea originated to combat the brass plate bending excessively. A thicker plate lost significant resonant quality. And side by side would not address the structural issue. I also toyed with the second string being three octaves higher, another interesting sound… Sympathetic string?

    This is a work in progress and I have hit on another idea of actually using multiple sound boards of progressive sizes and thicknesses. I can then use wooden framing to augment the structural strength of each sound board. Also the size will be more appropriate to the frequency of the strings attached. My observation is the average wire string has ~10-12 Lbs of tension, so my thought is to limit each board load to ~50 lbs or 4 strings.

    I have torn down my original jig and am pursuing this new direction now.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #162157

    Joan Mainzer long played on a podium in the Minneapolis Symphony/Minnesota Orchestra. I don’t know how much it helped, but you could see what she was doing. To me, the secondary resonator for the harp is the room you are in. Adding a podium/riser would mainly amplify the bass, I would think, so you would only need it in a heavily carpeted area, or if you are buried behind violin sections in an orchestra, it might help get the sound out a little, or at least people would see how hard you are working.

    I think it is more important to concentrate on having better harps built. It’s taken almost 30 years, but my harp now has a tremendously open sound, and in a high-ceilinged church, the treble soars. Of course, there are a few notes I can’t regulate without switching discs, but only a few, actually. I hope the board will not pull up more. It would be nice to get another 20 years out of it, if I can play that much longer. Especially since I can’t foresee being able to buy another one.

    Now, here’s a poser: has anyone tried building a harp out of quick-growing, inexpensive woods, like bamboo or rubberwood? Bamboo might not have the right resonance for the board and body, but I would think it would be superb for the column and neck.

    And, Carl, I just wonder, how many harps have you made thus far, and are you building them by yourself nowadays?

    michael-rockowitz on #162158
    Liam M on #162159

    Correct Mike, and the tensions of my 22 string Clarsach range from 11 to 28 lb.

    michael-rockowitz on #162160


    We’re really into the realm of acoustical physics, of which I don’t know nearly enough.

    Liam M on #162161

    I am Mike.. Modifying a string wrapping jig I built to hold the sound board and using an oatmeal can as a simple resonator. I’ll try and get off a few pictures this weekend.

    If you find any good books, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!

    michael-rockowitz on #162162


    I’ll look into what’s available.

    Liam M on #162163

    Great site I have it bookmarked now.

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