• What kinds of harps do you play?

    I play a Lyon & Healy Grand Concert pedal harp. Harps come in many styles and sizes but mine is the large concert harp used by symphony orchestras. There are smaller harps, some of which use levers.

    How much does a harp weigh?

    My harp weighs approximately 85 pounds but it is over 6 feet tall.

    What do the pedals do?

    I have 7 pedals---each pedal has 3 different positions. They shorten or lengthen the strings and make my sharps, flats, and naturals.

    What do the levers do?

    The levers also shorten or lengthen the strings.
    Why are the strings different colors?

    I have colored strings to help me find my perspective on the harp.  The red strings represent the note “C” on the scale and the dark blue or black strings represent the note “F” on the scale.  Everything else is a neutral color.  When the strings are plucked and vibrate, sometimes the vibrations make it hard to tell one string from another, thus the spacing of colored strings.

    What are the strings made of?

    My strings are made of a few nylons in the top octave, and mostly gut (sheep gut) in the other octaves.  The last 12 strings are actually wires (These are sheep gut strings, bound with copper wiring to give the deep base sound).

    How do you move the harp?

    I have a special hand cart that was made especially for my harp.  It has a seat belt that secures the harp in place and it has pneumatic tires to help when bumping the harp up or down stairs. We transport the harp in a large SUV, making sure all pressure points of the harp are padded and secure.

    How do you tune the harp?

    I have a special tuning key that looks very much like a short Capital Letter “T”.  It fits on the back side of the pin of each of my 47 strings and I either tighten or loosen the string, depending on whether it is sharp or flat.