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More Strings Than Most: how many harps?

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Helen 13 Aug 99 - 02:56 AM
Allan C. 13 Aug 99 - 08:10 AM
Sandra 13 Aug 99 - 08:42 AM
Susan of DT 13 Aug 99 - 09:33 AM
Bert 13 Aug 99 - 09:40 AM
Paddy 13 Aug 99 - 12:13 PM
Ferrara 13 Aug 99 - 04:58 PM
Helen 14 Aug 99 - 01:53 AM
Jen 14 Aug 99 - 08:31 AM
emily rain 14 Aug 99 - 12:29 PM
Helen 14 Aug 99 - 09:45 PM
Ferrara 15 Aug 99 - 05:02 AM
Sandra 15 Aug 99 - 09:17 AM
Susan of DT 15 Aug 99 - 03:02 PM
Rick Fielding 15 Aug 99 - 03:21 PM
emily rain 15 Aug 99 - 04:50 PM
ddw in windsor 15 Aug 99 - 11:03 PM
Roger the zimmer 16 Aug 99 - 05:46 AM
Helen 16 Aug 99 - 07:37 AM
black walnut 16 Aug 99 - 11:42 AM
Helen 16 Aug 99 - 11:41 PM
Roger the zimmer 17 Aug 99 - 04:21 AM
Canberra Chris 17 Aug 99 - 04:53 AM
catspaw49 17 Aug 99 - 09:58 AM
Helen 18 Aug 99 - 02:54 AM
Canberra Chris 18 Aug 99 - 04:15 AM
Helen 19 Aug 99 - 07:39 PM
Jen 20 Aug 99 - 08:58 PM
Helen 27 Aug 99 - 11:15 PM
Jen 28 Aug 99 - 04:36 PM
Helen 28 Aug 99 - 09:20 PM
catspaw49 28 Aug 99 - 10:08 PM
Sharon 28 Aug 99 - 11:36 PM
harpy 28 Aug 99 - 11:43 PM
harpgirl 29 Aug 99 - 12:16 AM
29 Aug 99 - 12:20 AM
Jen 29 Aug 99 - 08:58 AM
emily rain 29 Aug 99 - 10:27 PM
Sharon 30 Aug 99 - 09:42 AM
Susan of DT 30 Aug 99 - 06:23 PM
Helen 30 Aug 99 - 06:44 PM
Curtis & Loretta 30 Aug 99 - 08:12 PM
black walnut 05 Sep 99 - 10:23 AM
Nate Biehl (prufroc@hotmail.com) 05 Sep 99 - 01:19 PM
Helen 06 Sep 99 - 05:14 AM
GUEST 20 Aug 03 - 01:27 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Aug 03 - 04:09 AM
Bill D 21 Aug 03 - 01:11 PM
Margret RoadKnight 22 Aug 03 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,M'Grath of Altcar 22 Aug 03 - 11:05 AM
Helen 22 Aug 03 - 06:30 PM
Margret RoadKnight 22 Aug 03 - 08:20 PM
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Subject: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 02:56 AM

Hi all

Since black walnut has joined the 'Cat and mentioned in the Mudcat IQ thread that she plays the harp I just thought I'd take a head count of all the 'Catters who play anything harp-like, i.e.anything with more than 12 strings (is that a simple enough categorisation?). I can think of harpgirl and Ferrara, and someone else plays the autoharp - can't think who it is right now. And Jen used to drop in here, and Siobhan but I haven't seen them here for quite a while.

What other instruments count in the More Strings Than Most category? I have seen a bandura years ago at Oz folk festivals and I know someone who has a lyre (not *is* a liar *BG*). But what have I forgotten? I think you know that I don't mean pianos, here guys. Oh yes, hammered dulcimers, of course.

So, what do you think? A little 'Cat-harp sub-group?

Helen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Allan C.
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 08:10 AM

I own a harp which, thanks to some brief instructions from Susan of DT, I now know how to hold right-side-up. It is not where I am right now, so I can't remember the string count. It covers at least a couple of octaves. I hope to learn more about how to play it in the coming months. It is a thing of beauty and needs playing. I also have a 17 button autoharp. I have a lot to learn about it as well. But it doesn't call to me like the harp does.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Sandra
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 08:42 AM

My husband bought me a 19 string Celtic lap harp or "folk" harp for Christmas this past. It has 19 strings and levers on all the strings which allows me to play in any key with sharps. I love playing the harp. I take lessons from a friend who didn't start playing until she was in her late 60's. (Harp Girl - you will remember me as Muzishun - I tried to send you a personal note back, but I don't think it worked)?


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 09:33 AM

There are several categories of many stringed instruments and I would not lump them under "Harp". There are harps (multistring with stings not running over the soundbox) and zithers, whose strings do run over the soundbox. I would include autoharps, psalteries and hammered dulcimers under the zither catogory. The MacArthur or barn harp is a combo of the 2 since some strings run over the box and some are free. Another category might be lutelike instruments with more strings than 12.

Harps come in many sizes from small lap harps with around 2 octaves to concert pedal harps with 6(?) or so octave. Some folk harps are almost as large as concert harps - Lyon & Healy come to mind. I have a medium sized harp with 29 strings made by Betty Truitt in California. Since I do not practice musical instruments, I do not really play the harp or othr instruments. At sings, I sing. I also have, and used to play, an autoharp. I also have and do not play a MacArthur Harp and a bowed psaltery.

Maybe a cat-harp group would get me to work on that lovely instrument sitting forlorn in my family room.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Bert
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 09:40 AM

I've got a santur, it has 15 or more courses (can't rememeber exactly) with four strings per course. Just wish I could play it.

Catspaw, next time you get over this way you can stop by and give me some lessons.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Paddy
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 12:13 PM

Susan of DT's comments are very good. I've been playing hammered dulcimer for three years and am absolutely enthralled with it. My instrument is a 12/11 with 52 strings in 23 courses over two bridges. That seems to be the most common size, but there are both smaller and larger ones, with one or more bridges. Some folks even play fully chromatic ones. The 12/11, however, in standard tuning, lets you play probably 95% of the trad and folk out there. More tunes than I could ever hope to remember anyway.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Ferrara
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 04:58 PM

Susan, I didn't know you have a MacArthur harp. Does it have all its strings? Would you consider bringing it to the Getaway?

I have two zithers and a MacArthur harp. One of the zithers is fully strung and gorgeous; the other one is waiting for me to figure out how to re-string it.

Bill D plays autoharp, which has been called a zither with an automatic transmission.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 01:53 AM

Sandra,

The trick is to tune your harp with all the levers disengaged, i.e. so that they are not bringing any strings up a semi-tone, to the key of E-flat major (3 flats) so then you put the levers in position on the E, A, and B strings, et voila, you have it in the key of C-major. Then for G-Maj you use the F levers, for D-Maj you use the F's and C's etc etc. You can get up to the key with 4 sharps and down to E-flat major just by engaging or disengaging the levers. Clever, huh?

If this explanation is not clear let me know and I'll try to put it into something clearer.

Everyone else, I wasn't intending to limit the discussion to harps but to broaden the discussion to all of the instruments Susan mentioned, plus any more we can think of. The thread title was too short to say that clearly.

So, do you all know about the harp e-mail mailing list called the Harplist?

You can subscribe or talk to the list manager at the following email address:

Harplist-owner@onelist.com

You can send email to the list through the following email address:

Harplist@onelist.com

Messages sent to that address will be sent to all other subscribers.

To subscribe to new lists, change your current subscriptions to digest, or start new lists, please visit the ONElist web site, at http://www.onelist.com, and click on the User Center link on the menu bar. When logging in, use the password listed above.

I can highly recommend this list. It is as friendly, helpful and interesting as Mudcat. And there is an archive of previous list topics, although if you do harp-related internet searches on Infoseek you will probably get some of their archived material listed too.

Yes, I know, we are not all harp players but there is probably some degree of overlap even if only because of similarities in the music which lends itself to be played on a large number of strings.

Helen

P.S. When I did the original posting to this thread I made a typo, which I corrected and now wish I hadn't. I wrote "striiings" instead of "strings" but it's almost like a visual cue with all those "iii's" together like parallel strings.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Jen
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 08:31 AM

I'm still around, though getting married in two months and very busy! Haven't had time to play my harp lately, but I still have one, she has 23 wire strings, I think. I'd have to count to be sure about that, though!*g*

Missed you guys!

Jen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: emily rain
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 12:29 PM

i also harp on my harp. it's a salvi mcfall: 38 strings but the top 1/2 octave is impossible to play, let alone re-string. i still have strings there for visual appeal, but leave them totally limp so they won't break.

question: the other really annoying thing about my harp is that the sharping levers are not quite in the right places... when i flip them up to the key of g, for example, i have to retune all the f's before i can play. is there _any_ way i can fix this? moving the levers is not an option; i would have to drill the screw holes practically right on top of the old ones.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 09:45 PM

Hi Jen,

Nice to see you are still here, and *snap*: I'm getting married next month so harp playing is way down on the list of priorities at present. I don't even have a harper playing for the wedding which I am very sad about, but we are having (this is the plan, anyway) an informal party afterwards with lots of folk musicians so I am hoping that I might get to play at my *own* wedding.

emily,

Muy sharping levers (Robinson brand) have a little screw in the plate which can be loosened and then the lever part can be moved up or down slightly to adjust the position more finely. I don't think all levers have that option but it is worth checking out on yours. Do you have flip levers or blade levers?

Helen

PS I wish I could change the title of this thread to make it less harp-specific. My oringinal thought was to provide an empatheitic circle to mutually bemoan the time it takes to tune up with multiple strings - on *any* instrument before being able to start playing.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Ferrara
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 05:02 AM

Well, Helen, your post about tuning multiple strings got my attention! My strung zither is called a "guitar" zither, I guess because it has six sets of strings arranged in chords. [The unstrung one is a "concert" zither and has a fretboard, but I may have it backwards on the names.]

Anyway the guitar zither has 51 strings. It is old. It is built of not-very-hard hardwood. And it is super sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. And a tiny turn with the tuning wrench makes a big difference in the pitch. And the bass strings are very difficult to hear, until you try to play a chord at which time it becomes very clear that they're out of tune. .... Nuff said. But I'm going to say more anyway....

I once led a workshop in late January and happened to be scheduled in a room with a double door to the outside. Have you heard the one about how long does a harp stay in tune? (Twenty minutes, or until someone opens a door....) Well that workshop was agony. People were coming in and out and letting in the freezing air. I didn't get through a single song without the zither losing its tuning sometime during the song.

The good news is that since Bill got our central air about 70 percent fixed (100 percent is way too much to hope for in this house), the zither has behaved much better. It likes air conditioning, hates heat and humidity. In hot or very cold weather (when the heating system takes over), I have to tune it a half step low or the back starts to bow. But in spring and fall, and now in summer as long as I don't take it for a ride in a not-well-airconditioned car, it comes up to pitch by itself!

The concert zither may be older yet. One reason I haven't tried to string it, it that the tuning pegs are not all the same size and shape! -- It's going to be a real challenge to find a workable tuning wrench.

With all that, I should add that the guitar zither has a rich, mellow sound sort of like a full string orchestra, and it is worth every bit of aggravation that it causes me. - Rita Ferrara


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Sandra
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 09:17 AM

Helen - Thanks for the tuning info! My harp teacher uses this tuning I believe. This allows you to play in flats right? I seem to have enough trouble trying to keep it in tune in standard! I'll have to give this a try.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 03:02 PM

On the subject of harp tuning:
Since sharping levers can only sharp and not flat, I find it useful ( and have gotten this from others as well) to tune a harp with a full set of sharping levers to the key of either F or Bb, so that the key of C has one or two sharping levers up. This enables one to use the common one or two flat keys as well as several sharp keys.
I think harpgirl plays a harmonica (mouth harp) rather than a stringed harp
Ferrara: remind me in October that you want me to bring the MacA harp to the Getaway


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 03:21 PM

I've been playing various autoharps for many years, but had luthier Peter Cox make me a board psaltery with 24 strings. Just sits on the lap and you pluck out melodies with the right hand and make chords with the left.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: emily rain
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 04:50 PM

helen,

indeed my (flip) sharping levers do _not_ have the fine tuning option, but what an interesting thought... i could maybe replace just those levers which i use most often with the adjustable ones, thereby increasing the convenience without spending a fortune. yes! by jove, you've got it! thanks!


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: ddw in windsor
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 11:03 PM

I still have two autoharps, both Oscar Schmidt birchtops, tho' I don't play them as often as I used to since I started working really hard on blues guitar and practising regularly with a mouth harp player.

I keep one of the AHs (they're both 15-bars, BTW) tuned to a standard tuning and the other a half-tone down, which gives me a lot more versatility.

ddw


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Roger the zimmer
Date: 16 Aug 99 - 05:46 AM

Sorta thread creep! The dreaded amplified autoharp player of Bracknell was let out again on Saturday in the shopping centre. He wisely sat next to the security booth so I couldn't unplug him. As far as I could tell through the reverb he played Danny Boy and the Theme from the Deerhunter, but the other tunes seemed pure Muzak. He seemed to want to sound like a synthesizer but why I don't know when he could have played straight (I would have though it would have been loud enough without amplification) and the reverb really set my teeth on edge, I can't imagine it would encourage anyone to take up the instrument (in my arrogant uninformed opinion). Rant over I'll go and take my medication now!


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 16 Aug 99 - 07:37 AM

Sandra,

Another slight advantage to tuning in E-flat Major (yes, you can play keys with up to 3 flats without retuning) is that it takes 3 strings per octave down a semi-tone when the levers aren't engaged, which takes some of the pressure off the soundboard and you may find that it stays in tune just that little bet longer.

Susan, see my post near the top about tuning to E-flat with 3 flats. I thought harpgirl played autoharp but I could be way off, there. Wonder where she is - she hasn't dropped in here yet to check out what we are up to.

I've just checked out Barry Taylor's tunes again, and also the O'Carolan page, both at Lesley Nelson's site

Lesley Nelson's site which is one of my favourite sites.

There are some really good tunes there - and the lyrics as well. I was just picking tunes at random from Barry Taylor's tunes and listening to them as I read the threads here.

So, are we going to have a More Strings Than Most session here? I was just listening to:
The Ash Grove
Believe me if all those endearing young charms
The Rose of Tralee
Mari Bhan Og
Ar Hyd Y Nos/All Through the Night

So what are your favourite tunes on your instrument?

Helen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: black walnut
Date: 16 Aug 99 - 11:42 AM

thanks for starting this thread, helen!

yes, harpgirl plays autoharp. she's probably very busy with her festivals.

i play a wonderful 36 string josephus harp (made from black walnut, in british columbia). it shocks me how well it stays in pitch, through cruel ontario changes in heat, cold, dryness, and humidity. i tune my harp with B's and E's flat.

my favourite tunes at the moment are eleanor plunkett, return from fingal, and a trad~sounding gorgeous tune by kelly mcgowan called 'three faeries'. find it on a cd called 'circle of stone', by the harbord trio (kelly mcgowan, don ross, oliver schroer).

perhaps there should be threads separated out for the individual instruments, so we can question and kvetch with like minds. i play other instruments as well, so i'd visit celtic harp, piano, fretted dulcimer, whistle, autoharp, beginner guitar....

i'm enjoying the 'cat ~ i feel quite welcome here...thanks!

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 16 Aug 99 - 11:41 PM

black walnut,

Eleanor Plunkett is one of my favourites. I have a really good midi file from Lesley Nelson's site, listed above, which has multiple tracks and just makes me want to play it with a few other musicians. My other favourites at the moment are The Maid from the Parish of Penderyn, s Welsh tune, and Luke Dillon, another O'Carolan tune.

Helen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Roger the zimmer
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:21 AM

Thread creep warning:
This thread reminds me (oh, come on, Roger, you just want an excuse to use the joke) that when Tom Lehrer was asked if the piano was a folk instrument he replied
"Just think of it as an 88-string guitar".


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Canberra Chris
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:53 AM

In London in the late 60's an eccentric collection of street performers called 'The Exploding Galaxy' performed Buddha ballet with wonderful home-made props and instruments including an iron bedstead strung with piano wire onto which they would pour or drop bagfuls of ping pong balls. This instrument was carted around London by Underground railway. It's the largest multi-string folk instrument I've seen.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 09:58 AM

And from the sound of it, probably a LYRE. Since the question was alluded to earlier regarding harps, zithers, etc., let me send you to this posting from January which includes a definition for String Instrument (CHORDOPHONE) Classification.

So now, a few questions? Shouldn't Harpy actually be "Zithgirl"--I try, but she won't go for it. And perhaps we could refer to banjos as "Loon's Lutes" considering the players and all? And as a harmonica is more closely related to an oboe than a harp, how about the next time someone whips one out in a performance, you yell, "Blow that 'Boe?" Notice I said YOU here.

Nice thread Helen....I'll be back.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 02:54 AM

Qucik, hide 'Spaws litter box so he can't turn it over and use it as a sopabox to lecture us on the different categories of Chordophones. If we hurry it might only take us an hour or so to pack up our multitude of strings, tuners, etc etc.

Just kidding, 'Spaw. That set of definitions is interesting, *and* I'm still awake.

Canberra Chris,

I assume this means you are in Oz? I'm in Newcastle NSW. I have met a couple of Canberran harper-ists, and I am planning to check out a lap-harp there as a possible purchase in the next month or so.

Helen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Canberra Chris
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 04:15 AM

Helen

Yes I am in Canberra, Oz. I know a few harpists here including Amanda Graham and Brian Hungerford.

I don't have or play a harp myself, but my father had an Irish harp made for him in the early 60's, when it was a very eccentric thing to do. He intended one of my sisters to play it, but she was not all that keen, and eventually it was passed on to someone who would use it. (Yes, I have been kicking myself ever since for not having a go). Its other impact was the very occasional extremely loud 'ping' that would wake the entire household when a string broke, always in the middle of the night. Is this a known phenomenon for harp households?

I did have a dream about harps in which I was a old and famous harpist trying out harps in a harp museum. I moved from harp to harp, playing the same 'well-known' (but only in the dream) practice piece on each. When I woke, I remembered the music. I must try it on a harp sometime.

I do have a large old European zither, with a part fingerboard. Do you know anyone around here interested in them?

For Catspaw49, I don't remember what they called the strung bed, but having made it, I suppose they had to lyre on it!


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 19 Aug 99 - 07:39 PM

Canberra Chris,

I met Claire Stoneman & Diana Owen at a National Folk Festival in Canberra in 1984. I have infrequent email contact with Diana. I have also had e-mail chats with a harp maker, Bruce Lemin, whose harps I intend to check out next month, but I have not met him in non-cyber-reality yet.

I don't know of anyone around your area interested in zithers, but isn't the Monaro Folk Club somewhere around there? There are a few good Oz folk sites with contact details. I'll see what links I have bookmarked and post them here - over thweekend maybe.

Helen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Jen
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 08:58 PM

Still busy, still getting married....*g*

I have an autoharp too, but it hasn't been tuned in forever. I also have a zither and a baby zither that can't make anyone sound bad.(It has such a nice tone).

I saw some really nice harps at the Appalachian(sp?) Festival a few years back, but alas didn't buy one.(They were reasonable, too, I should have! Hopefully I'll get there this year and he'll have them again. They were beautiful!)

Anyhow...Haven't had time to practise lately. I really need to get motivated at learning my harp properly, but there isn't enough time in the day for everything I want to do!


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 11:15 PM

Chris,

I forgot to say before that the loud sound of a string breaking has woken me a few times. It's amazing how dramatic it sounds.

Why always in the middle of the night? Well, I know it relates to the cool air increasing the tension of the strings if they have been tuned up in the heat of the day and sometimes the pressure is just too great, so one string, hopefully not more, breaks.

Helen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Jen
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 04:36 PM

This may sound strange, but the only strings that have ever broken on any of my instruments are ones that I've accidently broken myself, while tuning old strings to see if they still had any life in them(they didn't). When I need to get more strings for my harp I'll be in trouble, 'cause I don't know what to buy, but so far I've been lucky!


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 09:20 PM

Jen,

I know you can order strings for all brands of harps, and also for non-brands if you give them the specifications from Mountain Glenn Harps.

This was cut from a message by Glenn Hill on the harplist about replacing strings on Pakistani harps: e-mail Laurie Hill at mwstrings@aol.com, to get more info on replacement string sets for harps.

My harp was made from a Markwood kit, designed by Mark Bolles who worked out a string/harp design process. He then sold the harp kit and harp making side of his business to the Hills.

Helen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 10:08 PM

Although I've had more than my share of string breakage ( if you build Hammered Dulcimers it's inevitable), the best breakage story I've heard comes from my friend Rick Fielding on a 12-string. Here is the Tale of Implosive Pedro. Enjoy!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Sharon
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 11:36 PM

What an interesting thread! I too play harp, a 25 string Heartland Lyra, with sharping levers on C's and G's. My next one is going to have them on the B's too, because lots of the music I'm learning is in the key of F. I'm taking lessons from a concert harpist, a professor at the university. She's really strong on correct technique. I guess all of her emphasis on "close your fingers completely", lift as you play, elbows up, etc. will make a better harpist of me someday, but for now it's terribly hard to concentrate on playing the correct notes, let alone all of the technique. Yes, I'm just a frustrated beginner.

I do also play hammered dulcimer... much easier, I must say. And yes, I have a plucked psaltry, and a couple guitar zithers. Actually, one of what I thought was a guitar zither... has double strings instead of single strings per note, and the instructions say that it was played with a flexible hammer... which did not come with my instrument (which I located at an antique shop).. wish I could find one of them.

Have any of you played a Hawaiian tremeloa? It must be my "weirdest" instrument yet. Strings in chord clusters at the bottom, but across the top is ONE string... this is hard to describe... and attached to a hinged bar, there is a pick and a small bar, side by side, which "fret" the string, and pluck the string... giving a hawaiian guitar sound to this string as it's played. Yep, pretty weird.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: harpy
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 11:43 PM

Hi Helen...I've been trying ot post to this thread all day and (grumble, grumble) I keep having to reset my cookie!!
Anywhoooo, my favorite diatonic D autoharp for many fiddle tunes has thirty seven strings and is tuned like this:
gadef#gabc#ddeef#f#ggaabbc#c#ddeef#f#ggaabc#dd
It has fifteen bars and the chords are set up this way:
G9 D4 D6/9 A4 A6/9 Emin F#7 Bmin C#dim F#dim G A7 D E7 A

The F#7 and E7 are partial chords -- no third
9ths are added - no 7ths
4 means suspended 4th
The Dadded6/9 chord = D major pentatonic scale and you can then push two chords for various drones.
I don't take credit for it though. It's something Marty Schuman and Mark Fackeldy worked out for me...Bill Sables asked about right hand work...I'll send you a note Bill when I find a moment!...harpy


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: harpgirl
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 12:16 AM



...oh and my C-D diatonic autoharp is set up this way:
gcdedgabccddeeff#ggaabbccddeeff#ggabccdd and it has thirty eight strings. The chord bars are in two lines and are:

Dmin E*7 Amin B*7 Emin F# Bmin
F G7 C D7 G A*7 D

With these two harps I can play a wide range. I also have a G harp and an F harp and various standard 15 bar harps....*sigh* If I played a real harp I might have to lug around fewer instruments!...harpalong


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From:
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 12:20 AM

...oops! that second D is really an F#!!!


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Jen
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 08:58 AM

THanks, Helen! I will see if they can help me. I'm paranoid I will break a string and not have a replacement.

Sharon, is that what they're called? Flex hammers, huh. The zither I bought came with this odd little, well, flexible hammer, and I had no idea what it was called... Do you know how to use one? As far as I know, my zither is a normal zither. I thought someone must have been experimenting with the sound. :)

Jen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: emily rain
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 10:27 PM

sharon: listen to your teacher. she knows of what she speaks. i took suzuki harp lessons (yes, suzuki harp) from a guy who was accustomed to teaching children, and he didn't push me hard enough to use correct technique. or maybe he tried and i ignored him and he gave up. anyway, now i cringe whenever i see a picture of myself playing... what awful form! and i do think it has limited my dexterity.

on the other hand, my form is not nearly so horrendous as loreena mckennitt's, and she's done very well for herself.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Sharon
Date: 30 Aug 99 - 09:42 AM

Thanks, Emily. I needed that. Just seems that all of the folk harpers I see, kind of moving along on their own, are playing more tunes than I..... I was playing much more when I was teaching myself from a book and video.... but now I struggle with these difficult pieces and all of the technique, and I wonder if I'll ever "get there."

Jen, the hammers are used on a "zither" that has 2 strings per note... not the ones with in individual string. How is your's strung? If yours is an a single string, you wouldn't be interested in selling the little hammer, would you????


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 30 Aug 99 - 06:23 PM

The cesus seems to be:
Harps: Allan C, Sandra, Helen, Jen, Emily Rain, Susan of DT, Black Walnut, Sharon
Autoharps: Bill D, Rick Fielding, DDW, Harpgirl, Harpy, Susan of DT
Zither: Ferrara
Hammer Dulcimer: Paddy, Catspaw, Sharon
MacArthur Harps: Ferrara, Susan of DT, (and of course, Margaret MacA)
Other: Bert, Rick Fielding, Sharon
The preponderence of harps is probably more due to the thread title than to actual numbers. Other instrument's players may not have read the thread.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 30 Aug 99 - 06:44 PM

Thanks Susan for the census figures.

You're right about the title stopping other people from responding with non-harp instruments. Maybe I can start a new thread: Who has multi string instruments at Mudcat?

Okay, the thought has struck so I'll do it.

Helen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Curtis & Loretta
Date: 30 Aug 99 - 08:12 PM

Count me in as another harp player!

Loretta Simonet


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: black walnut
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 10:23 AM

in the census, you might add that i have an autoharp, too. so, my many~stringed instruments include celtic harp, piano and autoharp. glad someone else tunes the piano. (but on the theme of tuning, i found it challenging to always play flute in tune, and i play fretted dulcimer in 11 different tunings...)

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Nate Biehl (prufroc@hotmail.com)
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 01:19 PM

Don't play harp. Used to build them. Until the 13th of August (my daughters first birthday) I built the soundboxes for Stoney End harps. I just didn't want to be left out. I know I really don't count, although I do play a bunch of instruments with 12 strings or less, including some with no strings at all (Imagine That!!)


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 05:14 AM

Nate,

You certainly do count. Really, this thread isn't trying to be exclusive. I was just interested in what people have in common in dealing with particular aspects of their instruments.

Other instruments can have similar quirks to multi-string instruments - like not staying in tune when the weather changes, or being difficult to carry around.

Helen


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Subject: tremeloa
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 01:27 PM


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 04:09 AM

Count me in as a harp player too. I'm glad our ghost guest revived this interesting thread because I didn't know it existed (I only joined Cat about 18 months ago). It's great to see who else plays and makes, though some of the other names are familiar to me by now. Anyone else out there?


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 01:11 PM

gee...the subject 'tremeloa' is intriguing...I knew a fellow who had one in excellent shape years ago...they are WEIRD...wonder what our guest/ghost had in mind?!


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Margret RoadKnight
Date: 22 Aug 03 - 09:41 AM

I play, in a limited fashion, the Kora (West African 21-string double-harp lute)....studied with Malamini Jobarteh in The Gambia in '95-'96, and the instrument survived the various plane journeys to Australia in a padded cloth case.


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: GUEST,M'Grath of Altcar
Date: 22 Aug 03 - 11:05 AM

I play harp!!! 32 string Joffrinou type.

I use an AMPLIFIER too!!!!


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Helen
Date: 22 Aug 03 - 06:30 PM

Margaret RoadKnight,

You mean you are *THE* Margaret RoadKnight? Back a couple of decades or so I went to as many of your concerts as I could in Newcastle, NSW and a couple in Sydney. I loved your singing, the songs you chose, and especially the little African "thumb piano" you played. It's wonderful to see you here at Mudcat.

Helen


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Subject: RE: More Strings Than Most: how many harps?
From: Margret RoadKnight
Date: 22 Aug 03 - 08:20 PM

Thanks, Helen!
Yes, *THE* Margret RoadKnight (can't imagine I share this moniker with many)
And yes, it is my family name and not a 'stage' name, appropriate as it might be for a wandering troubadour (e.g. gigs in Melbourne, Traralgon, Castlemaine and Wollongong coming up in the next few weeks, not to mention the singing sessions I run here in Brisbane.....)


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