It is currently Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:09 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 
Author Message
 
 Post subject: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:58 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 34770
Location: Minneapolis
Stoney End's Brittany model, a 22-string lap harp; nylon strings, walnut body, laminated birch soundboard, no sharping levers. Fresh out of the workshop. Looks like this example:

Image

Harps are a completely different beast from any other instrument I've ever played before, so I am truly a beginner again, in every way.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:09 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:59 pm
Posts: 995
Location: Southwestern Ontario
Congratulations. Hope you have fun with it. :thumbsup:
Nanohedron wrote:
Harps are a completely different beast from any other instrument I've ever played before, so I am truly a beginner again, in every way.
One consolation: in contrast to, say, a fiddle, it is impossible to make a harp sound unpleasant.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:24 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 34770
Location: Minneapolis
Tunborough wrote:
...it is impossible to make a harp sound unpleasant.

Everybody keeps telling me that, but I certainly manage to. To be fair, though, I'm only on my 3rd day.

I'm working on not using my eyes too much, but going by touch alone as much as possible. I swear I can feel new synapses growing in my brain.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:30 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:29 am
Posts: 69
Curious who the Mary Bergin of Irish traditional harp might be—someone who has made high quality readily available recordings that set the standard for the instrument.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:37 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:59 pm
Posts: 995
Location: Southwestern Ontario
JackJ wrote:
Curious who the Mary Bergin of Irish traditional harp might be—someone who has made high quality readily available recordings that set the standard for the instrument.

https://m.youtube.com/results?search_query=Ann+haymann


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:41 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:18 am
Posts: 831
Location: Parker County, Texas, USA
JackJ wrote:
Curious who the Mary Bergin of Irish traditional harp might be—someone who has made high quality readily available recordings that set the standard for the instrument.


We are fortunate to have many excellent contemporary harpers in Irish trad.

You could do a lot worse than to start with the recent (2020) TG4 Gradam Ceoil honoree, Laoise Kelly.

For my money, they don't get any better than Cormac de Barra, But I also love Gráinne Hambly, Kathleen Loughnane, and Aibhlín McCrann (though Aibhlín has not been recorded much in recent years). And Siobhán Armstrong is in a class by herself on the wire-strung harp, if that is your cup of tea.

_________________
Deartháir don phaidir an port.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:55 am 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 34770
Location: Minneapolis
An Draighean wrote:
...the wire-strung harp, if that is your cup of tea.

It might have been, but I'm not willing to grow out my fingernails; I cringe at the thought of a mishap cleaning my hindparts.

Really, at this point I'm just trying to get my left hand on par with my right's incompetence.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:18 am
Posts: 831
Location: Parker County, Texas, USA
Nanohedron wrote:
An Draighean wrote:
...the wire-strung harp, if that is your cup of tea.

It might have been, but I'm not willing to grow out my fingernails; I cringe at the thought of a mishap cleaning my hindparts.

Really, at this point I'm just trying to get my left hand on par with my right's incompetence.


I love the ringing tone of a wire harp; it seems to speak on an elemental level. My wife has a small wire harp made by William MacDonald on Skye. Even before you grow your fingernails, it is much more work to tune (and keep in tune) than a conventional harp.

Congratulations on your acquisition Nano, and I hope it brings you years of pleasure.

_________________
Deartháir don phaidir an port.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:39 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 34770
Location: Minneapolis
An Draighean wrote:
I love the ringing tone of a wire harp; it seems to speak on an elemental level. My wife has a small wire harp made by William MacDonald on Skye.

I love the wire harp, too. It's special, and we're lucky it was revived. My first introduction to it was in the mid-1980s via cassettes of Patrick Ball's playing. Needless to say, I was enchanted and it opened for me an aspect of the Gaelic tradition I had never dreamt of. I also confess a certain amount of pride in being able to claim the pioneering Ann Heymann as a fellow Minnesotan. I've had many an arcane conversation with ceadach - he doesn't post here much any more - a dedicated wire harper himself, also a local boy, IIRC a Scottish Harp Society award winner, and he was a student of Ann's. Wire and otherwise, there are a good number of accomplished local harpists that I've heard but as a newbie couldn't even begin to name, but give it time. Surrounded by all that, saying I'm taking up harp is a bit like telling Rembrandt I'm taking up painting.

It wasn't so much economy as it was the Gaelic harp itself that was the main inspiration for going with a lap harp; while I understand that the traditional string arrangements for wire and synthetic setups are different, I figured if a lap harp was good enough for the bards of old, it's good enough for me. I don't consider it a lesser instrument any more than I would consider a whistle inferior to a fully-keyed flute; it's what you do with it that tells the tale, and I've heard enough stunningly good music out of lap harps to convince me of their potential as legitimate instruments in their own right. I want to pursue the world of tighter harmonies, which suits me anyway.

There's plenty of time before I will see a need to consider a floor harp. I'm intentionally holding off on sharping levers too, as the diatonic modes that make up most of the Trad repertory are already present and accounted for. If and when I do add levers, it'll be the whole-hog thing with Eb tuning, or nothing.

An Draighean wrote:
Even before you grow your fingernails, it is much more work to tune (and keep in tune) than a conventional harp.

And ceadach said so, too. I find it a bit surprising, given that wires are less stretchy than gut or synthetics. Even with nylon strings I still have to tune, but I don't mind; for me there's a certain amount of satisfaction in the task.

An Draighean wrote:
Congratulations on your acquisition Nano, and I hope it brings you years of pleasure.

Thanks! I expect it'll take some time before the real pleasure sets in; right now it's a matter of the work of nailing technique, dexterity, and accuracy, and I'm a ways off from that, yet. Baby steps.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:23 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:18 pm
Posts: 14
Congratulations on your harp! (I had a 22-str stoney end for a while).

I too was first captivated upon hearing Patrick Ball (30 yrs ago) - so much so that I'm still playing wire harp. It's an unshakable habit.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:55 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 34770
Location: Minneapolis
Thanks. The first time I put hand to a harp was ages ago, and I was convinced I'd never be suited to play one. Now? The prospect isn't as terrifying. If you have any pointers, cat, please don't hesitate to let me profit from your experience.

For now I'm forgoing exercises (probably a bad idea) and am instead working on tunes: Boc Liath nan Gobhar, and Ged a Sheòl Mi air M'Aineol (yes, I'm drawn to the Scottish repertory on harp, for some reason). For the first tune, it's a twofold practice: melody, plus an accompaniment-only series; I'll work in any backing to the melody later on. For the second, it's mainly melody, with simple accompaniment worked in when I'm feeling bold.

My biggest frustration as a fluter was also in being a cittern player: I couldn't accompany myself. With harp, now I can. :)

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:08 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:18 pm
Posts: 14
Yes the Scottish harp - the old stuff is my passion. https://youtu.be/Cuca8XBBTAs

I nearly (but a hairsbreadth away) bought a harp from MacDonald too, one year ago. The only thing that stopped me was purchase of a hardingfele instead...now taking all my time from harping :oops:


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:52 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 34770
Location: Minneapolis
cat wrote:
I nearly (but a hairsbreadth away) bought a harp from MacDonald too, one year ago. The only thing that stopped me was purchase of a hardingfele instead...now taking all my time from harping :oops:

On his website MacDonald says he's not taking orders any more, so it must be a recent development. But then he says he's got a line of new designs in the works, so I'm not sure what to think. Had a listen to what he says is his last and final Queen Mary replica, and the tone is exquisite. But I'm still not gonna grow out my fingernails, even for that. :twisted:

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:44 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:18 pm
Posts: 14
William M. on Skye there last year this time told me he was building replicas now and the harp (sigh) I nearly obtained were of the last two he was offering at the time. Dear William is a gracious man and would no doubt respond to inquiries.

Ya fingernails. I've kept them (R hnd) since as a young teen for classical/flam gtr. What's weird and creepy is having long L hnd nails - eeew. Yep they're a hassle but they're a way of life. When they break I file them down and play fiddle.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Got My First Harp
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:39 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 34770
Location: Minneapolis
cat wrote:
Ya fingernails. ... Yep they're a hassle but they're a way of life. When they break I file them down and play fiddle.

Back when I was still weighing whether I'd go with a wire harp, I brought up the question of finger picks with ceadach. This item in particular:

Image

While they're always an option, ceadach doesn't like them. Says they interfere when damping strings with the finger pads, which strikes me as a reasonable point against them. Still, I've occasionally seen him use one in a pinch, out of necessity.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.236s | 12 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)