The Harpist’s Declaration of Independence

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    I am feeling, today, like we need our own Declaration of Independence. What clauses would you put in it, what needs to be in our Bill of Rights?

    I, the undersigned, declare that the harp is equal to or greater than all other musical instruments, real or imagined. I declare that harpists deserve equal opportunities. I declare that harps are built to serve harpists.

    We have the right to transportation options. We have the right to equal employment. We have the right not to suffer discrimination. We have the right to have music composed for the harp. We have the right to equal publication and recording opportunities. We have the right to equal amounts of musicological research into our instrument and literature.


    We have the right to declare that harps are not merely percussion instruments and that harps and harpists do not belong in the percussion section of an orchestra.



    Barbara Henniger

    Take a look on Youtube and watch shows Smetana’s Die Moldau being played and there are 2 pedal harps in the front of the orchestra with the string section. It is a beautiful performance and worth listening to and it is a delight to watch the conductor conducting the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1990. I know next to nothing about symphonies and wonder if this is the usual practice in other orchestras.


    We have the right to say “no, I will not play both Harp I and Harp II parts at the same time.”


    Or “pop in” the celeste part.


    In the case of budget cuts, may we also refuse the use of an electric casio keyboard as a substitute for a real second harp?


    Or for any harp anywhere, especially live show orchestra pits!

    Sid Humphreys

    Yes Barbara, I like where the harps are placed here. But notice the camera man doesn’t like to film them!

    Harps should get as much film time as the flautist or vioinist!

    Fearghal McCartan

    and that we should not be asked to play piano

    Karen Johns

    Just had to chime in- haven’t heard from you in a while, great to see you “putting your two cents (shillings?) in” here once again!

    To add to the declaration:

    And let it be known to all and sundry that harps come in all shapes and sizes, and can play in every musical venue from jazz to classical to folk. We refuse to be “pigeonholed” by what type of harp we have, be it pedal, lever, cross-strung, wire-strung, triple-strung, or paraguayan into any one particular musical style. All harps regardless of cost or style are to be accepted as “real” harps.

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