I am new to the harp and harp column so a quick intro. About a month ago I went along to a birthday party with some friends I was staying with, and someone else at the party had brought along a wire strung lap harp. I showed some interest and she let me have a go at playing it. That was the beginning of something special. Since then I have spent all my spare time web surfing to find out more about the celtic/folk/lever harp. I have been a flute player and teacher for many years, but am ashamed to say that I was totally unaware of the lever harp, even though I love celtic/Irish/folk music. I think I’ve learnt a lot from my internet research and am glad to have found this forum so that I can make contact with real people. I am just about ready to order a Harpsicle harp, I still need to decide which one (how many levers), and which colour (I’m leaning towards a green or natural coloured Fullsicle). I think this is a good place to start and down the track I may look at getting something bigger when I know better what I want to do with my harp. I also like the idea of a harp small enough to be portable. For now I mostly want to enjoy playing and learning for myself, without the pressure of doing it professionally as I do with flute. But I suspect I will be happy to play for anyone willing to listen because I think the harp sounds so great, even when you’re a beginning player.
So my first question is: What note range is required in Sylvia Woods’ Teach yourself book and DVD? The Harpsicles have one octave below middle C, is this low enough, or can the pieces be easily adjusted for a smaller harp?
I am also interested to hear opinions on whether Sylvia Woods’ or Pamela Bruner’s beginner books/DVDs are better at teaching technique. I think I will be mostly teaching myself. I don’t have the opportunity to look at the books but from what I’ve found out, I think I’ll prefer the repertoire in the Woods, but maybe it is very similar, I’m not really sure. I’ve thought about maybe getting the books and DVD from Bruner and also the book from Woods, if people think the Bruner method is better for showing technique. Any help from people who have seen/used these methods is very welcome.
My last question is about the Harpsicles. My impression is that they are reasonable instruments, well made with a reasonable sound, though perhaps quieter than other harps. I would appreciate hearing from people who have owned or played a Harpsicle, about their positive or negative experiences.
Many thanks in advance for any help and advice. I’ve looked at some of the threads in this forum and it seems to be a really friendly and fun place.