Just curious. The internet has changed so much about how people make their purchases, and in addition, things change over time. I’d like to know where you go when you want to buy music(classical, pop, jazz, teaching materials, etc.). Also, what is your preference? Internet, brick and mortar store? I’m particularly interested in hearing from harpists outside of the United States. Where do you European or Asian harpists buy your music? Please tell me also if you are looking for pedal harp or lever harp music, or both. Thanks.
If it’s standard harp repertoire, I call and order from Vanderbilt. I’ve always had good experiences with them shipping quickly and friendly/helpful harp staff on the phone. If I’m looking for a current pop song, I usually just google it and find a downloadable version that is often for piano, and tweak it for my needs. And then for teaching, I like to browse through the method and repertoire books in person. It’s so awesome that Virginia Harp Center is so close, but I know it’s rare that people have that luxury! Whenever I attend a harp chapter event or conference, I’m always made aware of new arrangements and usually end up buying a new book or two there as well.
It largely depends on what I’m looking for Carl: a particular piece or a collection. What with the wealth of the ‘net it doesn’t make much difference to me where the actual store is located. Lyra Music, where I often go for strings, has just been acquired by Vanderbilt – they have a huge stock of both pedal and lever harp music. For a particular contemporary lever harp piece, I often go to my favorite individuals: Robertson, Riley, Tasche, Rasmussen, etc.
Yep, directly from the artist (if they have something I want). Sometimes one must buy a collection, but that’s often worth it to me. For example, I wanted a score for “The Wild Geese” and was not in the mood to radically mark it up from Bunting’s collection for piano forte.
So I bought a fifteen tune harp collection from Laurie Rasmussen.
Perhaps needless to say…..I messed with Laurie’s arrangement too, since I wanted to do this on a wire strung harp with a shorter range.
Another favorite artist would be Dr. Alfredo Ortiz, and anything by Harper Tasche or Kim Robertson is worth buying – when I feel rich, ha ha. Melody’s Music also has lots of lever harp music.
Being still pretty much a beginner, I like to work from a score, rather than learn a tune by ear most of the time; then arrange to suit me from there. So lead sheets are a nice source too, also arrangements for guitar and piano, even cello in one case. Cynthia Shelhart has a nice collection of 400 lead sheets, worth getting just for the reference.
Support the starving musicians!
I live outside the US and used to be a regular customer of Vanderbilt, until the changed their shipping policy.
They will only use courier for international shipping now, which costs around $30 for shipping alone..which is a bit much for me. So now I just buy music whenever I visit the US, or if I’m desperate enough I asked them to deliver it to my friend in the US and they will then forward it to me using regular USPS air mail.
I also live outside of the US. I get most of my music (folk, classical) through a local harp store – I’ll look the first pages up on the internet and when I visit the store every once in a while (two hours of travel) I’ll buy several books at once. For pedal harp music that the harp store doesn’t stock I go to a large classical music store in Utrecht or Amsterdam; they provide music for conservatory students so they’ve got a lot.
Incidentally I order stuff online or digitally, but I prefer being able to look at the books IRL. And some books are hard to get due to high shipping costs, I guess I’ll have to wait until I visit the US…
There are European stores that have a good stock of harp music, full service, like Broekman and Poppel in the Netherlands, to name one. We should have such stores here. I used to stop into Lyra Music every Friday afternoon on my way home, and browse through their boxes and chat with Don Henry and whoever was there. There is nothing a store that has everything right there to look at. The closest thing to that is a conference where all the dealers show up with their rarest and most unusual stock as they did in Philadelphia.
I mostly order online from the major distributors, Vanderbilt, Harp.com or HarpConnection.com, and sometimes from websites that sell tons of music, where they may have an import or less-popular piece direct from the publisher. One of the beauties of Lyra was that they had the most eclectic selection, no matter how obscure, and they kept it on the shelves until someone called for it. Sometimes Don had to borrow a copy from me to fulfill someone’s order. He also knew how to print his own copies if the publisher allowed it, if it was out of print. He was as fascinating as his store.
I always browse by composer, it’s the logical way, to me, but some sites make that difficult and list only by title, or by first name, not last name. To me, it would be a nightmare to have to sell through my own website, but the few dealers we have don’t often want to stock new music. Sadly, the temptation of photocopying permanently killed the major publishers’ interest in publishing harp music, at least in this country. Now, people seem to have no interest in collecting, and only buy what they immediately need, if I am right.
I always thought repertoir was an asset, and if you had the music on hand, it was much easier to accept an engagement. I have collected as much as possible. It fills eight file drawers and then some. I think we should have a competition to see who can build the biggest collection of music, and who has the rarest music.
I obsess about music and have way more than I’ll likely ever play. I have an excel file listing the (the history of) books/pieces I want, where they are available, and how much. I have a number of places listed, including a variety of European sellers. Looking at that, I found that I buy a lot of music from the Harp Connection. I usually buy a couple of things at a time. Both the total amount and the shipping cost are a few dollars lower than other places – I live in Canada.
Just tonight I was searching ebay for harp music! I have found some cool stuff there over the years-love used copies with fingerings and notes marked in it-they may not work for me, but I find it interesting. If I’m looking for something pre-1900 I use google books to search and see if there is a (free) digital copy out there. I’m not sure, but I am thinking the Library of Congress website has some music scanned in as well. I recently was looking for volume 2 of John Thomas’s “Welsh Melodies” – no digital copy could be found, and the closest library that had it was hundreds of miles away. Finally found it on abebooks.
For more modern things, I will go to harp.com, Vanderbilt, or Melody’s Traditional Music Shop.
I don’t mind playing from fakebooks and doing my own arrangements, so I will sometimes get those on amazon. I’ve purchased digital sheet music from websites before as well.
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