Tuning question

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #161981

    Ok, so I have a harp that only plays down to the F-clef “F”…and apparently most lap harp music I’ve researched thus far goes down at least to the “C”.

    Do you think it would be wiser to try to tune everything down to get that “C” or would the string (for lack of better terminology) bottom out? Should I just learn to play everything an octave up instead?


    barbara-brundage on #161982

    You should tune the harp the way it’s meant to be tuned, and adapt the music if necessary.

    jennifer-buehler on #161983

    Before Therapy harps with the C below middle C became such a big thing a lot of small harps had G-G tuning.

    unknown-user on #161984

    I’ll see if I can find some of those.

    Second question – I already have the Victoria Schultz version of “You Can Play the Harp”.

    Karen Johns on #161985

    I’m with Barbara on this. I started out on a lap harp that only went down to the F below middle C, and I had to transpose the bass line ALOT. As long as you stay within the chord, it should sound fine. For example, if your bass line is Low C-Low E , and G, you could invert the chord to G, Middle C, & E. Or just play everything an octave higher. How high does your lap harp go? Mine only went to F, and this was a problem too.

    I tried re-stringing my lap harp to get the low “C” and it didn’t work. Even with a thicker gauge string in order to get that note I had to adjust the tension too low. Was like plucking a piece of spaghetti, and did not sound good at all.

    unknown-user on #161986

    Ah…I had a sneaking suspicion that re-tuning wouldn’t work…but thanks for confirming it for me.

    My harp goes from “F” below middle “C” to “C” two octaves above middle “C”.

    tony-morosco on #161987

    I think getting different perspectives from different books is always a good thing. I am very fond of the Sylvia Woods book. I think it is excellently written and the exercises in it are great.

    I also recommend Sam Milligan’s Fun From the First Vol I and II. These were the books my teacher started me on when I first began studying the harp. Good photos of hand positions and nicely arranged music at a beginner level.

    barbara-brundage on #161988

    Yes, the Fun from the First books are great, and very inexpensive, too.

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