The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #84785   Message #1567138
Posted By: Helen
20-Sep-05 - 05:45 PM
Thread Name: How do you tune a harp?
Subject: RE: How do you tune a harp?
Hi duellingbouzoukis,

It looks to me like the top octave is just put in incorrectly.

It should be as Sorcha said:


So if you change your red white white white blue white white red

to: red white white blue white white white red
then you will have C D E F G A B C

I saw a harp in a reputable Museum in Oz a couple of decades ago and they had it strung with just the same sort of mistake.

As Sorcha said if you play outside of the key of C Major/A minor then you will need to retune other strings as you go, e.g. F# for G Maj/E minor.

There is a harp joke which basically goes: Q: how does a harp player play? A: 10% of the time in tune, and 90% out of tune.

Do you know who the maker of the harp is?

I have had 3 harps and all of them have improved radically with the quality of the strings I have put on them. I am really happy with the strings from Markwood , which are available via mail order at Mountain Glenn harps in the U.S. they can do a string analysis based on the shape of your harp and some other info. The first strings I had on my last harp were strung so tightly that it was trying to play a tennis racquet. Scary! Now it has lovely Markwood strings which have a beautiful sound and are much easier to play.

The other thing which helped me enormously was buying an electronic tuner. Before that I used to spend an hour or so trying to tune my 36 string harp and then getting too frustrated to actually play anything. You might be better at tuning by ear than I was, though. Put your ear against the soundbox and listen to the beats while tuning. That helps but it is also fun to hear the harp sounds vibrating so clearly.

There is an email harplist through Yahoo groups. how to subscribe to the harplist

They are a nice bunch of knowledgeable people, jsut like Mudcat.

Have fun!