Strangest questions asked…

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    I played my first of ongoing gigs among assisted-living homes in my area this afternoon.


    lol. I don’t know why that cracked me up, but it did.

    I haven’t played the harp for that long, and not all that many people know that I do (I don’t play in public or anything), so I haven’t had a lot of opportunity for weird questions. The closest I’ve got is my Mom asking me why some of the levers (or those things as she called them) were up and some were down. I suppose it’s a legitimate question, but I had already told to before that that the levers were for sharps. And she didn’t ask it like, “so what do the levers do?” she said that it was weird for some of them to be up and some down. I don’t think I even answered her, but just stared at her incredulously wondering why on earth she thought the levers would be there in the first place if they weren’t supposed to be moved.

    Sarah Mullen

    Most of the questions I get are pretty standard.


    When I’ve had my lever harp out, I’ve had people ask me if it’s a “real” harp.


    An elderly gentleman:


    Everytime I’m out somewhere playing I get the “did you make it” question as well. Every single time. So I just say “no, but somebody did”. If someone tells me that harps are supposed to be big I just say that they weren’t always that big – how would you be able to get it on your horse. Funnily enough most people see the sense in that.


    I don’t know why, but this thread reminds me of a story Eleanor Fell told me years ago. Some woman called Vanderbilt and Eleanor picked up the phone. The woman said to Eleanor “I’ve been studying harp now for a few months and I think it’s time for me to get real harp strings for my harp.” Totally perplexed, Eleanor asked her what she currently had her harp strung with. “I’ve just got training strings on there now.” Doubly perplexed, Eleanor asked her what ‘training strings” were. “Well,” the woman explained, “The C’s are red and the F’s are blue.” “That’s the way they’re supposed to be,” Eleanor explained. The woman was surprised. Eleanor swears this really happened!


    This is probably going to fall into the category of cute rather than strange – I’d just received a new harp and decided to take it down to the local coffee shop for a burn. So I was sitting in the shop playing some tunes and a little girl of about 4


    @Carl, I bet she was wondering if the woman had strung her harp with dental floss or something!

    @Adam, this is such a cute story!


    Adam, that reminds me of something that happened to me.

    Many years ago I was picking my lever harp up from Mr Henry of Lyra music when his shop was in Manhattan. I had to walk a few blocks with it and it was actually only covered in a plastic sheet so I was being very careful with it. I set it down while waiting for a light so I could cross the street and I saw a little boy about four years old looking at the harp, which you could easily see what it was through the plastic sheet.

    He pulled his mother down and whispered something in her ear. She turned to me and she said, “my son wanted to know if that was a magic harp”.

    I looked at him and I told him, “all harps are magic, they just don’t all like to show off.”

    He smiled big and then the light changed.


    Thats great, Tony quick thinking. One of the most rewarding things about playing out is seeing how the little kids react to it. I’m sure the memory will stick with him for a long time.

    Shelby, it was a musicmakers limerick. I also have a ravenna 34 and a little wireharp made by the wonderful William MacDonald. Trying to get a camac clio with extended soundboard this year. Hoping I can limit myself to four harps.


    Too funny – I also have a Ravenna 34 and I’m trying to save up for a Camac Clio extended soundboard for when I go to college!

    @Tony, that’s a great story; you were really quick on the uptake for that one!


    The most frequently asked question, for sure, is “how much does one of those things cost?”
    But the WEIRDEST question ever was asked by a man who approached me at a gig in Arkansas years ago. Well, he was obviously drunk, but even that doesn’t totally explain the weirdness.
    “Can I sit on your harp?”
    Now, that was startling. “WHAT? No!” I answered.
    “I’ll give you twenty bucks if you’ll let me sit on your harp,” he wheedled.
    Now, that was a weird conversation.


    Yes, that takes the cake, I think!

    Amber M


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