carl-swanson

Forum Replies Created

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 2,204 total)
  • Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Debussy, Claude:Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune #250693

    You might be interested to know how this piece was received during Debussy’s lifetime. It was detested by the critics! They universally hated it. They would pay backhanded praise to the exquisite colors that Debussy got from the orchestra, but felt that that was just surface beauty, and that there was no form or depth to the piece. One critic said that the piece could easily be cut in half, since the second half was just more of the first.

    The orchestra players who performed it initially weren’t much better. The first time the Berlin Philharmonic performed the piece, the players were openly laughing during the performance, and purposely playing out of tune. They had never heard nor played anything so idiotic in their lives.

    It was the general concert-going public who took to it, almost immediately. They simply liked the way it sounded, and it soon became the most performed of all of Debussy’s compositions. But throughout his short life, the critics had nothing good to say about any of his music.

    It was no better after he died. The week following his death, all of the newspapers spared a tiny amount of space to reflect on his accomplishments. One of his critics said “Debussy drank from his glass, which wasn’t large, but was made from thin crystal in which reflections, uncertain and changing colors, played out.”

    My my my…how things have changed!!!

    • This reply was modified 6 hours, 33 minutes ago by carl-swanson.
    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Turning lemons into lemonade… #246598

    Balfour,

    You have just described the reasons why I decided to do these editions. It has never made sense to me that a harpist, harp student, professional or amateur, should have to do all of the work of “making the piece playable” before learning and performing it. My feeling, from soon after I started studying the harp many many years ago, was that what is printed on the page should give you all of the information you need to learn the piece, with very little need to figure anything out. The way the music is printed on the page should tell you instantly how to play it. So with each of the editions I have done so far, I have tried to make the printed page as clear and understandable as possible, without in any way inserting “my way of doing it” into the mix. All of the editions I have done so far ARE the original pieces as the composer imagined them, without anything added or taken away.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Turning lemons into lemonade… #246248

    Balfour,

    Thank you for your kind posting. I hope you enjoy this collection of Tournier pieces. I spent a lot of time on them, and am really happy that they are now presented the way a harpist needs to see them.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: It's a new age…I tried something different! #244580

    Philippa- Wonderful playing, both on piano and harp. Bravo to you for doing such great work AND for putting it together on such short notice.

    Someone just sent me these links to performances by the great Isabella Moretti. In this age where so many of us are cooped up and many are out of work, videos like these can brighten our day. Enjoy!! I hope you can get these to work. Carl




    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Bow Brand Silver Pedal Wire Question #243583

    My dear departed friend Eleanor Fell told me that Vanderbilt did sound tests in house, numerous times, comparing silver wires to tarnish resistant wire strings. No one was ever able to tell the difference, as concerns the sound, between the two types of strings.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Rivets seizing on pedals #238888

    Alison,

    You’ll have to find out from Salvi if they now make a nut and bolt for the pedals. Lyon & Healy does, and I have them too. You would need to have someone(a machinist perhaps) drill out the head of the rivet on one side, then punch out the main shaft of the rivet. The hole in the pedal bar and brass pedal is 3/16 inch, so the nut and bolt you use has to be the same size. The bolt is specially made for this and is not simply a 3/16 bolt from a hardware store. The hole in the steel pedal bar should be greased with graphite grease before installing the new bolt. Then be careful not to overtighten the nut on the bolt or you could break the new bolt. Having someone do this to all 7 pedals should not cost more than about $400 US, and probably less, mostly for the labor of getting the old bronze rivets out.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by carl-swanson.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by carl-swanson.
    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Mahler 3 #238348

    I remember years ago having to play a “contemporary” piece in which the composer had written-for a piece at a very slow tempo- a glissando over 3 (slow) beats, covering 3 notes in the first octave!

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Chrysler Pacifica Harpmobile Issues!! #238335

    I’m on my 5th Dodge Grand Caravan in a row. The one I have now is a 2018 model that I bought when it was 6 months old. This is the first time that I have bought the high end version of the Caravan and I love love love it. It has built in GPS, a CD player with which I can load the disc onto the hard drive. I currently have 290 CD’s on my hard drive. It has heated seats and a heated steering wheel, which is great for New England winters. The main reason I have it though is that all of the rear seats fold down flat into the floor, giving me maximum room and length for moving harps. With all my Dodge Grand Caravans I could get 4 harps in the car. I drive each of my cars to around 140,000 miles with virtually no repairs. Then I get a new one because I don’t want to start paying for expensive repairs on a car with that much milage. I’m hoping to do the same thing with the current car. I would highly recommend the Dodge Grand Caravan as a great harp mobile.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: String Spacing on L&H 14 and 15 #237776

    Spacing on a 15 should be about the same as the concert grands. A 15 is a semi-grand, but with a straight soundboard. Spacing on a 14 is probably closer together. You should take a ruler and measure, at a right angle to the strings, C to C in each of the octaves and see how it compares with other models.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: A "Blue Book" for used harps #237529

    Steve,

    Nice to see you here. I too have been asked more times than I can count over the years to appraise a used harps value. When it is for someone who wants to sell their harp, the short answer is: Your harp is worth what someone else is willing to pay! I’m really tired of THE MAJOR HARP COMPANY telling people their old decrepit style 11 is worth $65,000 because that’s what a new one sells for. I’m the one who has to inject a heavy dose of reality to the situation and tell them that on today’s market they might be able to sell it for $18,000 to $20,000, if they’re lucky.

    I never give a single price when I appraise a harp that is up for sale. I give a range, like an auction house. If I tell someone who has a harp to sell that it is worth $16,000 to $19,000, the only thing they remember is the high price. If I tell a potential buyer exactly the same thing about the same instrument, the only thing they remember is the lower price!

    In the past 4 years or so, the whole used harp market has crashed. Prices are much lower now than they were 15 or 20 years ago. Just look at the prices on harps on the Harp Column site. Gold 23’s in decent condition advertised for $18,000. And I don’t know if they are selling at that price. 15 years ago, I could sell such an instrument for $28,000 to $35,000 without much trouble. Not now. So again, it all comes down to what someone is willing to pay.

    I believe there are two reasons the used market has crashed. The first is that the major companies have been building too many new harps in recent years(meaning, in the last 20 to 30 years). The number of instruments has increased enormously, but the size of the potential market has not. So it is now saturated. Exactly the same thing happened in the late 19th century with the piano. in the 1880’s and 1890’s, every house in America, from cabins on the prairie to 5th avenue mansions, had to have a piano in the parlor. By 1900, they all did, and suddenly there was no market for new pianos. Dozens of very fine piano builders went under.

    The second reason for the glut of used harps on the market has to do with harps that are no longer being used. For the past 140 years, when parents bought a harp for their child, more often than not the kid studied for a couple of years and then went on to something else. The harp sat in a corner of the living room, unused, for the next 30,40, or 50 years. I couldn’t count the number of times I have gotten a call from someone saying “We’re breaking up grandma’s house and there’s a harp there. We were told you might be interested.” Now, an unused instrument in good condition can be put up for sale in any number of places on the internet, and that has resulted in an over supply of used harps.

    The bottom line is that, while your idea for a kind of bluebook value sounds like a good idea, I think the reality is that the price is ultimately going to depend on the circumstances for each sale.

    This past summer, a client brought me a gold 23 in gorgeous condition, except that the baseframe was coming out. She asked me to repair the baseframe, and then asked if I could sell it for her. I politely told her I didn’t sell harps on consignment any longer, because I didn’t want it sitting around for several years while I tried to sell it. I told her I would give her a list of places where she could advertise it. While I was working on it, I got an email from a harpist in Europe telling me she was in the market for a used Gold 23, and did I by any chance have any thing? I told her that if she could wait about 6 weeks, I would have one for her to look at. She came to the U.S. and looked at several other used gold 23’s for sale, and looked at the one I had last. She played it for several hours and loved it. She told me that the other ones she had looked at were all cheaper, but they all needed work. So she bought the one I had here, for what today would be considered top dollar. I’m telling you this only to say that each sale, or each used instrument up for sale, is a complicated and unique situation, dependent on numerous factors.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Tools for Pedal Harp Regulation #237481

    Sidney,

    I’m curious. What make and model is your harp. And what is the age? If as you say, natural is just a little bit off and sharps are way too sharp, that could indicate some issues with the structure of the instrument. If that is the case, no technician can fix that with a regulation. If the harp is in good structural condition, then maybe some discs have to be changed to improve the regulation. Also, is there any particular area of the instrument(treble, middle, bass) that is off?

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: String won't thread #236004

    It sounds like the hole in the eyelet is too small for the string to go through. Are you sure you are using the correct diameter string? Is the eyelet made of nylon or metal? The metal gromits that are sometimes used have a tendency to split or crack on the side the string leans on when under tension. So maybe that is what is causing the weird sound.

    You should start by measuring the diameter of the string with a micrometer. Compare that measurement to that of the strings just above and just below the missing string and see if it fits within the correct range. If it does, get a numbered drill bit that is slightly larger than the string diameter and see if you can push it through the hole. If it won’t go, you may have to drill the hole larger.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Information on Chas T. Laughton harp #236003

    I would stay away from that instrument. I only saw one many years ago. But I remember it was a “primitive” mechanism, and very different from any other maker of harps, which means it would be difficult and expensive to have replacement parts made for it. If it was made in the 1930’s, then it is now about 80 years old and probably very decrepit. As a harp rebuilder, I would not agree to work on it. I don’t want to take on the responsibility of maintaining an instrument that would be very difficult and time consuming to work on, and which would very likely need constant fussing to make it playable at all.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Harp Composition Review #234799

    Zanoni,

    I just had what I think is a “lightbulb” moment! Try this. Wanna see what your part is like to play on the harp? Get some one inch wide masking tape and securely tape your 5th finger(pinky) to your 4th finger. Do that on both hands. NOW, play the part you wrote on the keyboard (with 4 fingers available on each hand). This will give you some idea of what harpists face when playing parts written by composers who don’t play the instrument.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on · in reply to: Harp Composition Review #234727

    The most important thing you can do if you want to write effectively for the harp is to take about 6 months to a year of harp lessons. It’s not that you need to be able to play the harp in order to write for it. But you need to understand the instrument the way the player understands it. It will teach you what acoustically works, and what doesn’t. It will teach you how each octave of the instrument has things it can do and things it can’t. The harp is not at all “like a piano but with the sound of a harp.” It’s totally different. You won’t be able to get that unless you take some lessons on the instrument.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 2,204 total)