"OH, HARPIST...?"

A quasi-serious take on a FAQ page.
Click here to send me your question.

 

Click on any of the following questions to be taken directly to the answer.

 

How do you move that thing by yourself?

Can you play "Stairway to Heaven" on that?

Have you considered playing a smaller instrument?

How much does your harp cost?

 

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Height = 5' 10". Weight = 76 pounds.  No, I didn't grow a few inches, and no, I am not skin and bones.  These are the stats of the instrument I need to transport from church to golf club to lakefront to restaurant to ??? to earn my living as a harpist.   

One question among many posed to me as I wheel around an instrument a bit larger than me:

How do you move that thing by yourself ?!?

A cart/dolly made especially for the harp and a hearse-like vehicle makes transportation of the harp and harpist possible.  With the back seats down, the bulk of my 1994 Volvo 940 Wagon is converted to a flat bed.  The harp lies on its side on a mattress, surrounded by all supporting gear (cart, music stand, bench).  Below is a pictorial step-by-step process of how I get the harp out of my house and back again.  Photos of physical harp laborer (me) excluded.

 

harpandgear.jpg (45263 bytes)

harppatio.jpg (42337 bytes)

harppatio2.jpg (152930 bytes)

harpcar.jpg (29070 bytes)

Step 1

Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Gather cart, music stand, gig bag, harp (Lyon & Healy 85E), bench, and later;
water, iPod, glasses, phone. 
Tip harp forward, slide cart tray under it, secure harp in the cart with belt and position harp and cart at patio door. Prop door open. Bump harp
and cart down the patio step.
Make sure door is securely propped open.
Position harp at predetermined angle and proximity from the mattress-ready Volvo, levers or pedal harp discs facing up. Remove cart.

 

(Click on images for a larger view)

harpcar2.jpg (143759 bytes)

Use

imagination

here

harpcar3.jpg (34586 bytes)

harpcar4.jpg (39333 bytes)

Step 5 Step 6 Step 7 Step 8

Support harp edge on knee and grip tightly; lower harp to rest on mattress on car bumper. 

Lift pedal end of harp and with
entire body, push harp and mattress into car at an angle.

Breathe now that harp is in!
Strategically place music stand and cart next to harp.

Place inverted bench and gig bag on front seat. If bringing amp, it rides shotgun.

 

To get the harp back home, reverse steps 1 through 8.  Results of the process: 

harphearse.jpg (80745 bytes)

THmuscles.jpg (84261 bytes)

Use

imagination

here

THfatigue.jpg (99138 bytes)

Harp-in-a-hearse! Muscles Assortment of bruises
on knees and thighs
Fatigue

Though I love my Volvo, I fantasize about having a smaller and more fuel efficient vehicle.
Technology is getting close.

 

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Can you play "Stairway to Heaven" on that?

YES

---------- >

And... "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly

"True Love Waits" by Radiohead

"Girl from Ipanema" by Jobim

"Autumn Leaves" by Kosma

The pedal harp can be set -- and changed -- to any key through the use of pedals located at the base of the instrument. The pedals function like the black keys on a piano. There are seven pedals, one for each note of the scale, and each pedal can be moved by the feet into one of three positions -- flat, natural, or sharp -- which changes the string tension. Coordination of feet and fingers is essential while attempting to minimize the 'clunk' of metal pedal against wood.

 


Photo courtesy Sylvia Woods Harp Center

Interpreting many layers of multiple instruments to one acoustic stringed instrument is a challenge. When peforming the pieces live and solo, one must decide, measure by measure, which voices from the original composition to highlight. With the help of my Tascam Portastudio 788, a piece of recording equipment whose innerworkings I've yet to master, and a JamMan looping pedal, layers of harp voices can be sandwiched to form satisfactory covers.

Tell me what music you think would be interesting to hear and/or impossible to play on harp.

The only thing that counts is intention. What counts is what one wants to do.
Georges Braque

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Just about every time I take the instrument out in public,
the following question is asked with a mixture of jest and trepidation
as I maneuver it and its accompanying equipment to and from my vehicle;

  Have you ever considered playing a smaller instrument,like a piccolo or a harmonica -- instead of the harp?!?

 

I've thought about listing the top five answers David-Letterman style, but the only answer is;

 

NO.

 

To read other harpists' answers to a similar question, visit the Harp Column message boards.

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I'm often asked at events where I play:

How much does your harp cost?

The price of a harp varies according to the style and size of the instrument. My Lyon & Healy 85E pedal harp is a basic model void of gold, ornate carvings, or soundboard applique. I purchased it brand new in 1995 for $10,750 -- check Lyon & Healy for current pricing. The most expensive harp puts the purchase price of a brand new luxury vehicle to shame. If the price of the instrument itself makes you catch your breath, consider the expense of the vehicle you need to transport it, as well the following related purchases:

Item

What I purchased
Height-adjustable bench/chair Artist model from Lyon & Healy
Tuner Seiko ST 1200 Chromatic Tuner
Music stand Montana's Mister Standman
Strings Gut, nylon, wire-bound are not sold locally and must be purchased online
Gig clothing Slacks whose dye isn't absorbed by the harp's finish; shoes whose heel won't interfere with pedal changes; tasteful all-black clothing
Professional memberships Gig/teaching resource and essential for insurance coverage
Preamp and pickup C-ducer, double
Amplifier Phil Jones Flightcase
Instrument insurance Terrorism clause included!

Copyright 2012 Trista Hill - Columbus, Ohio / Questions or comments - trista@tristahill.com