techniques for flipping levers

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    This winter I am teaching myself how to play a Dusty Strings 36 string (lever) harp, after playing pedal harp for 40 years. After a few months, i am still feeling a trifle disabled when it comes to flipping the levers fast and sure. Are there specific hand postions for flipping the levers as fast as possible? until i improve, my levering is slowing me down and giving me imperfect rhythm too…many thanks from Mary K


    There are many different ways to flip a lever, but which is best depends on you, your harp, its levers and how you all fit together as far as size. The single most important thing is to practice lever changing the way you would pedals: always in the same spot in the music and it takes a bit of work till it becomes something you don’t think about. If you move a lever at different spots each time, it will never get into your muscle memory.


    I also suggest sticking with one tuning scheme.


    If you have get back to your strings really quickly after flipping a lever, it is not necessary to go all the way back to the middle of the string. Place wherever you can get to in the time available, and work your way down as you continue to play. Practice your lever flips like choreography, in time. Practice them without actually playing any music, but just placing your fingers and then going to the next flip. If you haven’t already done so, put red and blue color of some sort on the F and C levers. (Some paint nail polish on the levers, others use hair elastics. There are some specially-made colored widgets that slip onto levers as well.)

    As for hand position, experiment and see what works for you. I just grab the lever between thumb and forefinger, but technique may vary depending on the type of lever.

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