Therapy Harp

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    Karen Bruce on #158112

    I am looking to purchase a therapy harp and believe I have narrowed it down to three possibilities. A Westover (23 strings),

    Member
    jennifer-buehler on #158113

    I haven’t played any of those but the Westover seems awfully big for a harp of that range.

    Participant
    Karen Bruce on #158114

    Thank you Jennifer! My current lap harp is over 9lbs (not fully levered)

    Member
    jennifer-buehler on #158115

    According to the stats page on the Westover website, the Westover therapy harp weighs over 9 lbs.

    Participant
    Karen Bruce on #158116

    We weighed my instructors and it came in about 7.8lbs, so interesting that the stats on the westover would be hirer. Maybe a denser wood?

    Participant
    Michaela Braveman on #158117

    Hi Karen,

    I have had my Lewis Creek Nightingale for almost 3 years now and I am loving it! It has a beautiful, warm tone (mine is made out of Cherry Wood), is light weight and has 27 strings, about the maximum you will find on a therapy harp. I highly recommend Truitt levers, since they don’t change the tone and are lighter than any of the others.

    I was completely new to the harp when I got my Nightingale and played it exclusively during my first year of learning, before adding a full size harp to my collection. I am currently enrolled in IHTP, so my Nightingale will eventually be used for what it was intended for: therapy work.

    Also, aesthetically speaking, I think it is one of the prettiest small harps around and Jeff Lewis, the luthier, is really wonderful to deal with.

    I heard good things about the Westover Harp too, however, I too would be concerned about the limited 23 string range.

    Hope this helps. Good luck with you purchase!

    ~Michaela

    Participant
    Karen Bruce on #158118

    Hi Michaela! How is the string spacing? Similar to your full size? And do you know the how much your Nightingale weights

    Participant
    Michaela Braveman on #158119

    Hi Karen,

    If my scale is correct, my harp weighs in at slightly under 8 pounds (fully levered with Truitt levers). If the weight is that important to you, I suggest checking with Jeff Lewis…, I am sure he will be able to give you accurate information. Either way, the harp is very light and easy to handle.The Triplett knee-bones crossbar works great with it for playing while having the harp rest on your lap. Now that I am working on my harp therapy certification, I am playing it with the strap, which is a bit awkward at first, but after a while, you get the hang of it.

    The spacing is identical to my full-size harp (Thormahlen Swan), just lighter string tension as a therapy harp should have. Also, I found that pretty much from the beginning, my harp required very little tuning and I have yet to replace a single string on it. And in the 3 years I’ve had it the tone has warmed up significantly and, given the small instrument, the resonance is amazing!

    ~Michaela

    Participant
    deb-l on #158120

    Michaela, why should a therapy harp have lighter tension?

    Member
    jennifer-buehler on #158121

    If you’re doing “interactive” work (ie. having the patient participate with you) the tension should be light enough for a patient to strum it.

    Participant
    deb-l on #158122

    Jennifer, it makes sense that a warmer sound is more soothing, that’s what confused me, because unless I’m mistaken, most higher tension gut strung harps have a warmer sound than most lower tension nylon.

    Participant
    Karen Bruce on #158123

    Actually Christina wrote that in her book Cradle of Sound! Thanks so much for all of the feedback. I too am looking at enrolling in the her harp therapy program. My instructor has almost completed it (she has a degree in psychology, a bachelor of music and a bachelor in Music Therapy. If figure if she is impressed with it the program must be pretty good.) As I am working full time I want to start working on the pieces but probably not enroll for a year or so.

    Participant
    deb-l on #158124

    Karen, do you know if it’s just Christina’s personal preference or is it widely accepted by other harp therapy programs that a therapy harp should be a lower tension strung harp?

    Participant
    Karen Bruce on #158125

    Hi Deb! I am quoting from Christina’s Book Cradle of sound with regards to tension. Page 80 “The tension needs to be lighter than most harps. Tight-tensioned strings produce a tone too bright for the confort of many patients, especially when played at bedside. Patients on morphine drip are especially sensitive to the bright sounds of a harp with tight tension. Listen for

    Participant
    deb-l on #158126

    Karen, thanks, the description of bell-like does apply well to higher tension harps.

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