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teaching a lever harp

  • Unknown
    Unknown User

    Good Day  Everyone!

    Hi, I'm Donald from the Philippines who has studied pedal harp for four years and then stopped, and then would like to go back again. I do have a friend who's buying a lever harp for their church orchestra and wants me to teach  it.  I have books by Sylvia Woods for lever/pedal harp both are for weddings and for christmas. Aside from string spacing and how to play it, I dont' have any idea with regards to the levers.

    I would like to ask if somebody here would give me more information on how lever harp works. Based on pictures I've seen in my catalogues, the levers are faced down. With the pedal harp, first notch is flat, second is natural and last is sharp. Is it the same thing with a lever harp only its near the tuning pin? Thanks for any information.

    donald................

     

     

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    replies to "teaching a lever harp"
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer Buehler

      Do you have teacher there in the Philipines?  Maybe it would be
      more appropriate for your friend to take lessons from someone who has
      experience teaching lever harp.  However, for your information,
      most lever players tune their harps with the E,A, & B strings
      flat.  Levers would be up on these strings to play in the key of
      C.  Levers only
      raise the pitch of the strings one half step.  However, if your
      friend is buying a harp of less than 36 strings then there may not be
      levers on every string. If he wants the string to be sharp then tune it
      natural.  If you need a note to be flat then tune it flat, raise
      the lever when you need it natural.



      Do you know what kind and size of harp he is getting?



      Jennifer

       

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    • Leigh
      Leigh Griffith

      Hello Donald,



      Lever harps don't have the option of flatting a string. the string is
      either natural with the lever not engaged (down) or sharp with the
      lever engaged (up). A string can be tuned to the flat and then the
      lever can be used to make it natural. I'm afraid that's all the options
      a lever harp can offer. Also, each string has to be sharpened
      independently by hand (which is probably obvious).



      Hope this helps.

      Leigh

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Well, why isn't there a lever harp with two rows of levers so it can be tuned in c-flat and make naturals and sharps?

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    • Leigh
      Leigh Griffith

      To do that, I would imagine that the neck would have to be about twice
      as wide, then there's another whole set of levers? I personally don't
      want a lever harp that weighs as much as a pedal harp. Since I am short
      (4' 9"), have a bad back (broken when I was 5), and arthritis, I will
      be glad to tune to the necessary key and use the levers for accidentals.

      My two cents,

      Leigh

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    • Liath
      Liath Hollins

      Well, why isn't there a lever harp with two rows of levers so it can be tuned in c-flat and make naturals and sharps?



      I imagine it could be done - but I doubt anyone would bother, given the design problems that would need solving.

      If you are wanting to play that type of chromatic music, it's easier
      just to play a pedal harp! Most lever harpists are playing traditional
      music, which of course is modal, so you just don't need such a range.

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    • Evangeline
      Evangeline Williams

      There are also chromatic harps, cross strung harps and triple harps for those wanting more chromatics but not a pedal harp. 

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    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      two rows of levers so it can be tuned in c-flat and make naturals and sharps?


      Actually, I think Salvi investigated the idea of a double action lever back in the 80's, but really the technical difficulties would seriously outweigh the advantages. I play lever harp all the time (and for classical music, too) and I can't say that not being able to play in C-flat has ever been an issue. Even double action levers wouldn't make modulating a whole harp any faster, and that's the main difficulty about levers.

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    • Patricia
      Patricia Jaeger

      Instead of two rows of levers to enable a folk harp to play more literature, two alternatives were developed, both of which are less expensive than the double action pedal harp. One of these is the single action pedal harp, used today in the Austrian Tyrol area and also in Germany south of Munich. The seven pedals allow 8 major or 8 minor keys, just as does a fully levered folk harp, without retuning any strings. The advantages are several: using foot motion means the hands can stay with the music; and all the strings of the same name  as the chosen pedal, are instantly altered, or cancelled, so that chords and arpeggios are richer. These harps serve to accompany polkas, waltzes, and other dances quite well, even when a key signature changes within a composition. The second alternative  was the Dilling single action lever harp,  with only seven levers, and a linkage system   inside the harmonic curve. Mildred Dilling, "The First Lady of the Harp" who played internationally in the 1930's  and later on her concert pedal harp, was asked to accompany a singer touring many  cities. Miss Dilling had a  single action lever harp designed  so  that she would not have all the  transportation burdens of her large pedal harp, on the tour. Several of  these small 33-string harps were produced, and patented, and sold. Because four hurricanes in one year in Florida destroyed the workshop of the maker and patent holder of Dilling Harps, it may be  some time, if ever, that they would be produced again.      

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    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Because four hurricanes in one year in Florida destroyed the workshop of the maker and patent holder of Dilling Harps


      Well, only Charlie got Arslaan, but one was enough.

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    • Jerusha
      Jerusha Amado

      How sad that the workshop was destroyed!  A single action lever harp sounds fascinating.  I hope that the owner is somehow able to recover from the catastrophe and resume the construction of these harps!

      Jerusha

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