I’m not sure that this is going to constitute a “quick response”, but
The harp is not an “extra” instrument in an orchestra. It is an
important and integral element, necessary for the performance of the
standard symphonic repertory. Some might say, “But the harp doesn’t
play in all the pieces!” The response to that is, “Neither do the
trombones, but no one would consider forming an orchestra without
them.” When the harp is used in the orchestra, it is often as a solo
instrument (Waltz of the Flowers, Ma Vlast, Rhapsodie Espagnol), the
only accompaniment to a solo instrument (Force of Destiny Overture, La
Vie Parisienne, Pelleas et Melisande), or accompanying the orchestra
as a whole (Mahler 5, Caucasian Sketches, Prelude to Khovahntschina).
It is also one of the few orchestral instruments capable of playing
chords, and hence is frequently vital to the cohesion of the rest of
Why is it important for a school to own a harp? School harps have
enabled countless children to begin lessons when no other harp was
available to them. Many have gone on to become outstanding
professionals. For students that have their own harps, moving the
instrument frequently to and from school for rehearsals and home
practice is impractical and highly risky. Most orchestral harpists
keep a harp at the rehearsal hall for this reason. It is also
important to ensure that the harpist participate in every rehearsal
where there is a harp part. This is the only way a harp student will
receive training and experience comparable to that of other
instrumentalists. It is also helpful to the other members of the
orchestra, so they may become accustomed to hearing the music as it
will be performed and learn their cues appropriately.
The composers wrote their music with harp in it because they intended
it to be played that way!
(Hope this helps you in your noble efforts to get a harp for your
school. Keep us posted.)
The most important reason why you should have a harp in an orchestra is that it makes the music complete! It’s a part of the bigger whole and therefore it has to be on stage with the orchestra!
The other very improtant thing to realize is already pointed out by Paul: it’s quite an efford to take your harp with you every time you have to go to a rehearsal! It’s not only a risk for your harp but also for the person who has to carry it around! If I played with only one orchestra (I just play gigs at the moment, so me and my dad have to carry my harp around all the time, not a very pleasant occupation) I would ask them too to at least rent a harp!
Best wishes from the Netherlands!
Elise, who has still ‘pain’ in her back from dragging her lovely instrument around
I figured it was time to inform everyone about what has recently happened…I have finished the final draft of the letter(I’ve been in and out of town for the past two months, thus the late finishing), and I am trying to get in touch with my teacher and principal of my school to get their opinion of the letter.
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