The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #102025 Message #2063506
Posted By: Dan Schatz
29-May-07 - 05:29 PM
Thread Name: Tech: Playing the autoharp with short arms
Subject: RE: Tech: Playing the autoharp with short arms
I suspect that if you can find a comfortable playing position upright, you won't return very much to the cross-handed style - unless you choose something unique, like Kilby Snow.
It sounds like your problem is that either the shape of the autoharp or your position holding it causes you to have to angle your arms in such a way that your forearm is rubbing on the edge. One quick fix would be to make yourself a cushion - a small pillow, or washcloth folded up, perhaps - to allow you to play without hurting yourself. You might also play around with different angles. You'll have much more flexibility if you play sitting down. The further your autoharp leans to the left (physically, not politically) the more your arm is likely to hurt playing it. Most of us play with a corner in our laps and the autoharp leaning to the left - trying playing it straight upright and then ease your way to a comfortable position.
There will also be some variation in makes and models of autoharps, so you might want to see how comfortable you are with different ones. There are indeed miniature autoharps (I don't know if they're currently made) but they have fewer strings, so you don't get quite the range.
I started playing autoharp at the age of 9, and turned it upright at about 11, so I know it's possible to do with short arms. Good luck with it!