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Harp Dog

  • Kay
    Kay Lister

    I have a 9 mth. old Jack Russell Terrier that just last evening decided to lay down at my feet while I was playing the harp and rest her head on the sound board.  My previous JR who died 2 years ago did the same thing also wanting to sit in my lap while I played the piano.  Any one else have music critters?


    replies to "Harp Dog"
    • Evangeline
      Evangeline Williams

      Sometimes my dog will fuss if I'm in another room playing an instrument (she is limited to the den, laundry room, bathroom and kitchen), and so i'll open the gate and let her wander in.  sometimes i'll put a blanket down on the nice sofa and she can sit while i play. 

      but if i sing, she howls along with high notes and if i do a fake over-exagerated vibrato on lower notes as well.  The vet said it doesn't hurt her ears, it's like howling with the fire engine (and it is a howl, like a wolf, not a whine cry or bark).  I've sang around other dogs, even ones of her breed, but none do this little singing trick of hers.  I need to get others to sing around her and see if this is a 'pack-behavior' (joining in with her pack members in an activity), or a singing behavior.  

      In high school my friend had a cat who would cry/whine when I played my lap harp.   

    • Tony
      Tony Morosco

      I had a cat once that would sit on my leg while I played and just watch my hands fascinated.

      My teacher had a beautiful Shepard named Polaris that would always come sit near the base of the harp when ever anyone started to play. A great dog, but I always left my lessons with dog hair all over my pant legs.


    • Diane
      Diane Michaels

      When I adopted my first standard poodle through poodle rescue, they added one question to my application: "So you want a musical poodle?"  I answered. "I thought all dogs were musical."  I was told that wasn't the case.  Sadie loved the harp, and had her way of showing what music she preferred me to practice:  French solos brought her next to me for her naps, any other classical solo, to the love seat in my studio, orchestra parts put her in the doorway to the studio, and when I was memorizing accompaniment patterns to pop tunes (not one of my favorite projects, might I add), she'd be some place else. 

      Next in line was Bentley, who could not be left unattended in his youth, and so he had to "practice" with us.  He took to my husband's bass right away, sticking his nose in the F holes.  It took a while for him to cozy up to the harp.  Or even not to freak out and threaten to chew the love seat when I'd sit down to practice.   I put up with that at first, when I had no big performance deadlines looming, but when I had to learn "Madame Butterfly," things had to change.  I lulled him to sleep playing parts in the lower register, very slowly, and then worked up the harp and finally worked as I needed to.  Now, he loves the harp, whether I'm playing or one of my students is here for a lesson.  He always sneaks around to their right side once per lesson to give the elbow an encouraging lick (or is he reminding them "elbows up!")? 

    • Lisa
      Lisa Green

      My husband, who is a clarinetist, has long despaired that our dog
      doesn't like his playing. "I can't believe I have a little girl who
      couldn't care less about music," he always says. Actually, the sound is
      probably too loud or piercing for her--she usually goes to the farthest
      part of the house from where he's practicing.

      On the other hand, she's very relaxed near me when I'm practicing. Good
      dog--she appreciates the harp. It's become a joke between my husband
      and me now.


    • Audrey
      Audrey Nickel

      My cat is utterly devoted to my harp...to the point where he gets upset
      when I leave the house with it to go to lessons (he loves all over the
      case when I come home!).  When I play he either crouches at my
      feet or sits on a nearby chair and gazes lovingly at the strings. 
      Fortunately he hasn't tried to pluck one (yet!).

      Before this cat (and before I had a harp), I had a cat who was crazy
      about music...particularly classical music.  She'd come running in
      from wherever she was in the house if she heard Bach!  She wasn't
      too picky though...even liked my penny whistles (she'd cuddle up on my
      shoulder when I played).

      BTW, my current cat is also a devotee of the Irish language...he gets
      very excited and purrs if you speak Irish to him and, when he's
      misbehaving, will only respond to "n�� b�� dana!"

    • Paul
      Paul Wren

      I use to have the most hyper weimeriner in all the world, but when I sat down to practice, she would come in, find a place, lay down, and start snoring.

      I now have 4 dogs! ugh! I love em all. When I get home and feed them, they are so excited and jumping all over the place. They play with each other and make all kinds of noise.

      I will sit to practice, about after 2 hours. I quit. The house is silent! I look and all four are near by sleeping or just laid out totally relaxed.

      I hope that is a positive refection of my playing.

      Music calms the savage beast!

    • HarpGlo
      HarpGlo Jean

      My usually hyper Standard Schnauzer, "Scotty" also seems to immediately calm down when I begin to play, and ends up asleep on his back with all four paws in the air..it's quite a site......ditto on, "music does calm the savage beast."

    • Sherj
      Sherj DeSantis

      I live with Ricky Ricardo, a tri-colored rough collie, who likes nothing better than to lay as close as possible to me while I play my folk harp. It is an almost nightly ritual with him. I have his pictures doing so, and frequently send them out by computer to various friends. I was recently asked by the photographer of the calender for Sunnybank (famous home of collie author, Albert Payson Terhune) to send her his pictures. He lays at my feet as long as I play. He does not like my Venus however, and fusses about being kept at a distance, since that harp is backed into a corner so no dog  can turn it over. I enjoy his company, and it's nice to have such  a devoted  "fan club".

    • Gorman
      Gorman Jones

      I have a small pipe organ and a harpsichord in my home. Our bichon Monty always comes to lie by the organ when I practice.  I also direct a small choir that rehearses in our music room from time to time.  We have to put the two cats (Helen and Bob) out of range when the choir rehearses or they will try to sit in the laps of the singers. Pets make life so much better.

    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Whenever I sit down to practice, my dog joins me.  He even has a few chew toys that he keeps near the harp.  I guess you could say we play together: me on the harp, Murray on the chew toys!  Sometimes he will "remind" me that it's time to practice - he gets my attention, then runs to the harp, then back to me, then to the harp.  

    • Leigh
      Leigh Griffith

      I used to have a cat who loved to listen to the harp. She would sit
      next to me and look from me to the harp over and over until I got the
      hint. When it was her time to go, I played the harp for her while she
      was dying and my husband was caressing her. He let me know when she was
      gone. It was the least we could do for her.

      Also, one time we were visiting friends and I brought the harp along.
      We were sleeping on the living room floor next to the harp. I woke up
      to hearing the strings being brushed very lightly, opened my eyes, and
      by the light of a street lamp saw one of their cats tentatively
      brushing a couple strings at a time and looking curiously at the harp.
      No claws were out, it was just fascinated that it could make the sound.

      My husky/lab mix is afraid of the lap harp because I was playing
      outside once and sat it down for a moment. The dog inched closer and
      was sniffing at the harp when a gust of wind stirred the strings. She
      fell over herself trying to back away because the harp played itself!

    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      my cat doesn't love the harp... its more she loves me and she comes around where ever i am whenever i'm at home, which is rare these days.... but the last time she entered my study to listen.. i made sure i'll always close the door behind me well.... you see.. when i study.. i do so in the dark, expect for white light on the book and harp so i'm not really aware of what's going on in other parts of the study... the last time the cat came in, she decided she wanted to listen to me by sitting on the piano keys... she just jumped from floor up onto the keys... which obviously created a loud bang on the piano.  and being in a dark room, the time was around 1 am, in a 400 year old town house gave me the fright of my life...

    • Pat
      Pat Eisenberger

      One of my Shelties likes to cuddle up to my harp when I'm not playing. The other one, Duncan, is quite unusual. He is extremely timid and fearful. Something which we are working on daily and seeing small improvements.

      When we'd only had him a few days, we were out ridding in the car. There was rock music on and he was, as usual, shaking like a leaf. I decided to turn the station to classical, and he immediately stopped shaking! I turn the station back to rock, and he started shaking again. At first he didn't like my harp playing (everyone's a critic!) but now he ignores it.

      We've since discovered that he is very sensitive to noises. I've even had someone ask me if he could be autistic! I am now a faithful fan of the Dog Whisperer, and using his techniques I'm seeing Duncan slowly become more confident. We are trying obedience class (for the second time) next Saturday. Wish us luck!

    • Denise
      Denise Krasicki

      All the years the girls were taking lessons and practicing our dog(s) would come in and lay next to the harps and stay there as long as they were playing.  They do the same whenever we have harpist friends that come to the house and will ask if they could play whatever harp I have in the living room. Soon as they start to tune our dogs will go in there and quietly lay close to them as they play.  The funniest one I've ever seen was the week of our oldest wedding, one harpist friend was playing for the wedding.  She came to the house (up north) to practice which is where our daugther lived and got married.  When living in our house there daugther had her own menagerie of critters since she is in the Vet field.  Bengal kitten, 2 ferrets and 2 gerbils along with our two pitbulls.  When harpist was practicing the church pieces for the wedding I happened to walk into the room and the animals, our dogs, the ferrets and the kitten  (gerbils stay in their cage) were laying quieting on the floor in front of her next to each other while she played. Soon as she stopped it was everyone chase everyone else which usually happened when they were all up and awake at the same time.   I don't know if its the actual music or the vibrations that draw them, or maybe both since their hearing is far superior to ours as humans.

    • Paul
      Paul Wren

      To add to my post, One of my four dogs, Max, is an English Springer Span,  lays so close to the harp, I have to watch out. A few times he has fallen asleep with his paw just under the A pedal, watch out if there is an A sharp! There have been some yipes!

    • Amy
      Amy Walts

      About ten years ago, my husband and I added a badly abused shepherd mix to our assortment of cocker spaniels. Hoover (named after our vacuum cleaner and her uncanny ability to suck just about any foodstuff off a carpet) was desperately frightened of people, but LOVED harp music. In fact, it was the only thing that would bring her out of hiding for a long time. The first time we boarded her to go on vacation, the kennel called us to say that Hoover had been crying for two days straight and was inconsolable. I told them to go to the local music store and buy a harp CD to play for her. Sure enough, she settled right down. So did all the other dogs, I'm told, so the kennel now has several they keep in heavy rotation, LOL! Hoover insists on sleeping in the harp room at night, sprawled out in such a way as to touch as many of them with her body as she can. Rearranging the harps or keeping one out overnight means she doesn't sleep well. Happily, she has overcome her fear of people entirely, and now occasionally leans on the harps as I play, audibly grunting with pleasure at the noise and vibrations. One of my spaniels, Basil, gets SO excited when I tune bass notes! He comes running from wherever he is, wagging his whole body ecstatically. Only the bass notes, though. He's a Bass Man Only, I guess.

    • hitomi
      hitomi momose

      Hello Dog lovers,

      Yes, my dog Lucky lay down as I play the harp.  He has aggression issues.  He is a different dog with harp music.


    • Audrey
      Audrey Nickel

      On the down side, my current cat is also extremely fond of harp
      brushes.  He has stolen and hidden two so far.  It's gotten
      to where I have to keep them in the case, except for when I'm dusting
      the Dusty!

    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Both of my dogs and my 2 cats like to come and in and listen while I'm playing.  One cat in particular loves the music - he acts annoyed when I stop playing.  My Golden Retreiver likes to accompany me on the piano sometimes.  Its something she started doing as a puppy and continues to walk up to the piano and hit some notes with her nose.  The funny thing is - she harmonizes really well.  Probably because she hits the same set of notes that match the key that I play most in.  Resting against the harp is poplular with all the animals and one cat tries to sit on my lap when I play.  Lots of times one critter or another will want some petting between notes.  I figure its good practice for playing with distractions.  

    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I have two cats. One is indifferent to the harp, but the other one, who used to be shy, comes out and lies at my feet whenever I practice. When my harp buddies come over to play, he even comes out to visit then -- something he never used to do when there were strangers in the house.

      But the real story here is the assist dog that a violist in our community orchestra has. I play oboe there, and he is right in front of me. He is usually pretty calm and quiet, but this past fall, when the solo clarinet came in two bars late in Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, he sat straight up, put the clearinettist right in his sight, and glared at him until the next entrance. True story.