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learning Piano after harp?

  • Deb
    Deb L

    no, not thinking of giving up harp, but am thinking those black keys for sharps and flats are looking mighty attractive and the price is so much less than a pedal harp.  Having learned bass clef and coordinating left and right hand for harp might give a good start on piano.  I know a lot of people start harp after learning piano, but wondering if anyone learns piano after harp?

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    replies to "learning Piano after harp?"
    • Wil
      Wil Weten

      Have you though of trying a cross strung (chromatic harp)?

      All the black keys directly under your fingers...

      Also much cheaper than a pedal harp...

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    • Wil
      Wil Weten

      I meant of course 'thought of' instead of 'though of'

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    • Deb
      Deb L

      they seem very difficult to play to me from appearances, but worth looking into more.  Do they ever go down to 6th C?

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    • Wil
      Wil Weten

      Yes, e.g. from Blevins Harps: Xenith 34/24 or Xena 36/25.

      There are several other builders of fine cross strung harps.


      Lots of people start with a small cross strung of three octaves, e.g. Stoney End's Esabelle, which can be made from a kit (or bought ready made).

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    • Jessica
      Jessica A

      You're getting sidetracked.  Pedal harp frees your hands to play (as opposed to the lever harp) and allows you to play in any key and get sharps and flats just by moving your feet.  Go for it.  You'll be glad you did.

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I began learning piano after harp. After 7 months of lessons spread over three summers, I am playing some of the Chopin Etudes. I suspect it harder to go from piano to harp than harp to piano - I had no dificulties whatsoever.

      ~Sam

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    • Deb
      Deb L

      Will, that stoney end kit looks like a great deal, and it would be fun to work on a kit with my husband. 

      Jessica, yes I would go for it and get a pedal harp today if I could, but not sure how long it will be before my finances are in place for one.  I hope someday to have a pedal harp, but I don't know for sure that it will ever be.

      Your point about getting sidetracked, I'm thinking very seriously on that.  My thought is a lever harp and a piano might be a good combination, and would complement each other.  My husband plays piano, but we only have keyboards, I personally don't like electric.  I like acoustic, but it's something we could do together, and my son also wants to learn piano.  I don't want it to take away from harp though, so am considering very carefully.

      Sam, it would take me much much longer than that to play Chopin!  LOL, but thanks for the encouragement.

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    • Jessica
      Jessica A

      You might look into renting from Lyon Healy or getting a used, re-conditioned one from them. 

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    • Deb
      Deb L

      thanks Jessica, I do look at their CPO pedal harps often.  I appreciate your encouraging me to remain focused on my goal.  I think I need to have a little patience.

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    • Karen
      Karen Johns

      What about portability? Didn't you mention before that you wanted a lever harp because of the lowered weight factor?

      I have a nice portable Yamaha keyboard with a stand. Not that expensive either. This might be a good option for you.

      I understand your frustration, Deb. Lever-flipping can be very challenging. Lots of patience and especially perserverance is needed, but trust me, you will get the hang of it. BTW, how is 'Moonlight Sonata' coming along? Isn't that the song arranged by Barbara Brundage you were working on?

      Karen

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    • Deb
      Deb L

      hi Karen,

      I needed portability at the beginning because I was moving my harp daily down stairs to play.  I made more room in my house so I can keep the Prelude in my living room.  It will be a squeeze to fit an upright in there too, but where there's a will..

      My husband has a Yamaha keyboard.  Even though I love listening to electric instruments I only like playing acoustic. 

      My harp has been tuned in C for a month to stop the string breakage at the levers.  On the 22nd I'm bringing it back up to Harp Conn for the technician to fix, so have not been able to work on Moonlight Sonata.  That's OK, because have been much into harp/voice pop.  I could play rock/pop songs on piano that aren't doable with levers.  I did find a nice used piano (9 yr old Baldwin Studio 245) for just 1700 including delivery, but obviously don't want to jeopardize my chances of buying the Prelude, or my ideal goal, a pedal harp that I could play anything I wanted to on.  Included in my books for lever harp arrangements are pedal harp versions and they look very exciting and challenging to play.  But cost/maintaince on a piano vs a pedal harp?  I know Loreena McKennet sings with both Piano and Harp.  I need to decide how serious I am about the music vs the instrument.  Most of my passion is about a particular song.  If I can sing and play some songs on the Piano and others on harp that may be very satisfying.  It is quite an investment of time, lessons, discipline, finances for a pedal harp. 

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    • Sherry
      Sherry Lenox

      I was always a lamentable pianist, so much so that because of my fear of piano I actually stopped being a public school music teacher.

      Since playing the harp, I've developed much more of a sense of placing and anticipating the appropriate motion between fingerings.

      I absolutely agree that going from piano to harp is harder than going from harp to piano.

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    • Deb
      Deb L

      Sherry, I think the harp is more rewarding to learn how to play accompaniment patterns and timing with two hands because of it's beautiful tone and the way it resonates.  Once you learn that the piano must be easier.  I'm assuming though that you still have no desire to play piano? 

      Wondering how many people still play the piano after learning harp?

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    • Jessica
      Jessica Wolff

      Well, I don't mind flipping levers and I never liked the piano. The usual argument in favor of the piano, that you can learn theory from it best--well, I can see the structure of a chord better from the harp than from that sea of white that is the piano.


      But I'm leaving out one important aspect: the tactile. All three instruments I play (guitar, harp, banjo) involve directly touching the strings. It's a more intimate way of playing. (I do like the harpsichord, which is plucked strings rather than struck strings like the piano, but I don't want to play it.)

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    • Deb
      Deb L

      yes I agree, one of my favorite things about the harp is being able to lay my finders right on the strings.  I think there are limitations of lever harp though, there is some music that just can't be played on a lever harp, that can be done on the pedal harp.  I think that is the primary reason people go to pedal harp is because there are songs they want to play that can't be done with levers. 

      But there are limitations for every instrument, there's some that are more suited to different types of music than others.  For example I've heard some amazing rock songs performed on harp, but I think there are rock songs that are more suited to piano or guitar.  I could never play guitar to save my life.  I tried a few upright pianos yesterday.  Most of the ones in my price range it didn't seem to matter how I pressed the keys they sounded the same, the one I'm interested in (I have a whopping $10 down on it) responded to how I pressed the keys and was very responsive. 

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    • Patricia
      Patricia Jaeger

      Deb, your right hand, playing treble notes mostly in the upper half of your harp, could partner with your left hand on a keyboard that could take care of accidentals in the harmony so that you might rarely need to flip a lever. This would be possible after enough piano lessons to learn good fingering conventions so that chords, arpeggios, etc. under the notes played by the  right hand would be smoothly done on the keyboard, by the left. Betsy Mills, (married name Goodspeed) a very gifted harpist, had a long restaurant job doing this (using the smallest Daphne pedal harp, at the time)  years ago in a southern California location. Those of us at a harp conference who went to hear her, were very impressed and so were the other restaurant patrons. She is still playing, teaching, and composing for harp. If you want more detail, I have her contact information and you can e-mail me directly. She wrote the beginning harp book, The Harp Plays.

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    • Deb
      Deb L

      Patricia, I read a post where you mentioned Betsy Mills before, what a fascinating story!  She sounds very creative and talented.  My husband plays keyboards, I'm trying to get him to play more often.  He wants to play duets with me on harp, so I wonder if he could play the portions with the heaviest accidentals and we can work out our duets based on what I can achieve with levers. 

      I have to at least try playing both just to see what it's like.  I don't know anywhere near enough to be proficient enough to contact her, but I will take a look at her book.  Maybe someday if I learn enough on piano and find I can manage both instruments I'll check back with you to see if I can get in touch with her?  Thanks very much for offering.  It must be something to see her play, she sounds very gifted.

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    • Jessica
      Jessica Wolff

      Deb! Don't forget your neglected cello!

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    • Deb
      Deb L

      Jessica, I put the cello up for consignment, if it sells it will pay a good part of the Prelude.  Cello is a full time instrument that requires many years of lessons to learn.  I had to choose between cello and harp, and harp won.  Piano I think is more easily learned and would be secondary and more complementary to harp, without taking away too much to make harp doable.

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    • Jessica
      Jessica Wolff

      Sorry to hear that, but if it helps pay for the Prelude--!

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