Good day fellow harpists,
I was recently having a discussion with a fellow musician math nerd about probability when I noticed a random correlation between the method we were using to map the different flavors of ice cream in a milkshake and pedal charts.
I pointed this out to my friend and we spent about a half a minute amusing ourselves over this before moving back to optimizing ice cream consumption.
One of the questions that arose from this discussion is why the order of pedals. We all know our pedal order to be DCB EFGA, but who arbitrarily picked that and why?
I have guestimated that it has something to do with the physical construction of the mechanism or order of sharps and flats. However, after spending my morning looking at diagrams of harp construction I see no reason on why someone might decide to put the pedals in ABC DEFG order.
The best reasoning I have so far come up with is that a recognizable pattern is created in the feet when exploring the flat side of the circle of fifths/fourths. Start inside alternating with left foot right foot on B and E; then farthest pedals, A and D, but here you must switch to a left foot right foot pattern(!); and then move inward continuing on the new left foot to right foot alternating pattern. The inverse would give you the pattern for sharps… But any arbitrary pattern for seven pedals would become memorized after several years of playing.
So, does anybody know why it is DCB EFGA?
And, while we’re at it; why four on the right and three on the left? I would say because a large number of the population is right handed and by pulling back the harp on the right shoulder at an angle limits the space for pedals on the left side of the harp…. But once again, does anybody know.
P.S./O.T. Does anyone know the order of pedals on a left handed harp. I have only ever seen one but was unable to dink around on it to find out. Cheers!