Hi all, I had an amazing acoustic experience with about 10 harps and I started this thread in the harp e-mail list in April 1997. If you are interested in the other responses I recieved you can look the thread up on the harp list archives at:
The thread name was: Sing choirs of harmonic harp-angels, and it starts about a quarter of the way into the archive list. The really interesting place someone mentioned was a crystal(?) dome in the U.S. somewhere.
In 1984, when I met my first friendly harper/ists (as opposed to the decidedly unfriendly one I had met about a year before that - must have been one that slipped through the harper/ist-production net, because all the other ones I have met have been extremely friendly, pleasant and helpful) sorry, back to the story....I was at a really good national (Australian) folk festival and there were at least 10 harpers there. We held a workshop in a long, narrow practice room behind the stage of a fairly new auditorium building. The practice room had a concrete floor, maybe even concrete walls, and the ceiling was quite low.
At the time I was a total newbie to the harp and had to watch most of the time while the others played around with some tunes and exchanged ideas on techniques, etc.
So, they all decided that they would play Planxty Irwin together, and I was sitting out in the front of the group, which was sitting in a semi-circle. The distance between the wall behind me, and the wall behind them would only have been about 8 or 10 feet.
They started playing and within a very short time I began to hear the most amazing sound, which seemed to be coming from above the group. If I closed my eyes I would have sworn that there was a massed choir of angels (Hollywood style) just above the group's heads. The harmonies were close but intricate, and so full it was all I could do to stop myself from crying.
It was obviously the harmonics from all those harps in tune with each other, in a room which was very small, with the low ceiling, and excellent acoustics. I told the group what I had heard, afterwards, and they didn't seem to believe me because the group were not in the right position to hear it, in fact they looked at me as if I had gone off my rocker, but it was as close as I think I will ever get to heaven on earth, as far as music goes. I'd love to repeat the experiment and try to tape it, but I don't know enough harpers locally to do it.