Happy New Year!
As we start a new year, the harps need to be in tip top condition ready for this 2017’s busy schedule. As they are quite technical machines (albeit quite pretty ones), this can be likened to servicing your car. I cannot do this on my own, but instead book a visit from…. The Harp Doctor!
Billy (aka The Harp Doctor) arrives (has a coffee) empties his tool boxes and then tips the harps upside down to look up inside them.
What most people don’t realise is that all concert harps (the big ones) have seven foot pedals, each with three positions. These pedals when moved into the different positions activate a mechanism that goes up the front (pillar) of the harp and moves little pins at the top of the strings.
These pins then in turn shorten or lengthen the note. This means that every string on a harp can play three different notes! Yes! Three! This means that on my harps you can actually make (quickly does some maths…) 141 different notes. This is very important because the more different notes that we can play, the more different tunes we can play, especially more modern music.
What the Harp Doctor does first is to check that the pedals and pins are all connected just right. Then he makes sure that all of the strings are sounding nice, and that in all of the mechanism is moving smoothly, with no bangs or buzzes. This sounds pretty simple, but it does in fact take anything up to about 3 hours per harp! This is absolutely necessary to make sure that the Babies (I know, big babies!) are sounding perfect for all of the exciting playing coming up this year.
All finished and ready to go… Can you spot the difference?