Little Lessons #1: I Just Got a New Harp (part 1)
Congratulations. So here are some tips for getting started.
• Harp should stand on a flat, even, non skid type of floor.
• If wood, use a non skid rug long enough to go under the harp and your seat
• If carpet, beware of very plush ones. Harps are tippety.
• I often use a clear plastic office mat, the type used for rollings chairs.
Place harp on the narrower end, sit at the wider end.
Do not allow sun to shine directly on the harp - keep away from windows.
In winter provide humidity in the room - but NOT the type that produces white dust.
Do not put humidity source in immediate contact with the harp.
Should be as consistent as possible. Harps are persnickety.
Do not put harp near wood stove or source of direct heat !
Should be flat and adjusted to proper height relative to the size of your instrument.
For children, use an adjustable bench to accomodate growth.
MECHANISM - ON A LEVER HARP
Along the front of the neck, there are LEVERS at the top of each string
When LEVERS are DOWN, strings are said to be “open” (levers not engaged).
When LEVERS are UP, the tuned pitch of the string is raised by ONE HALF STEP.
Keep LEVERS DOWN when tuning or not using the harp
MECHANISM & PEDALS - ON A PEDAL HARP
• Mechanism consists of 2 discs at the top of each string along the neck.
Action of the discs is controlled by pedals
• There are seven pedals at the base of the harp, one for each of the 7 note names.
Order is ( from outer left to right) : D C B E F G A
• Each pedal controls all the strings that have the same name as the pedal.
• Each pedal has three slots:
In the UPPER SLOT the notes will be tuned (or sound) as FLAT In the MIDDLE SLOT the notes will be tuned (or sound) as NATURAL In the LOWER SLOT the notes will sound as SHARPS
• Pedals should be placed in UPPER SLOTS when:
a) not in use
b) travelling (they should also be folded up against the harp body)
Next time we will talk about tuning.