kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (snake)
Someone on my friends list must know this. There's a person on [livejournal.com profile] harp who's looking for good harpmakers in Europe (Germany, Austria, Italy or Finland, she says). I could recommend a few wire makers, but I suspect she's looking for a "folk" harp. I'm sure somebody out there has some experience with harps in Europe, yes? Would you go take a look at her question? It's here.
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (performing)
You bet. The bottom five strings on my Witcher lap harp (it has 24 strings) are silver. A few months ago, I broke two of them at once because I wasn't being careful, and so finally I have emailed Ann Heymann about some replacement strings. I've ordered the full set of five bottom strings, and they were shipped yesterday, hoorah!

When I first heard about the practise of putting silver strings on wirestrung harps, I scoffed. There are various references in Irish and Scottish poetry and balladry to harps being strung with gold and/or silver, but most of my teachers at the time (ten plus years ago now) were hard-line fans of brass harp strings, and only one of them (Ann) was really experimenting with strings made of precious metals. Lots of people were using twisted or catlined brass strings; I remember Bill Taylor once had me braid my hair into a catline to explain catlines to a class full of beginning wire harp students at either an Amherst Early Music gathering or the Edinburgh Harp Festival, and recent correspondence with Paul Dooley (who's probably making my next harp, ohyeah!) indicates that there are still plenty of reasons to use wound strings (he'd like to put them on the bass of my new harp).

Anyway, I'd never even thought of putting silver strings on my Witcher, although I'd complained from time to time about the thuddiness of those bottom strings. When my friend (and a former student who has progressed far beyond needing me for a teacher) Beth had a single silver string delivered to me shortly after her first trip to see me and my family in England, I was blown away. First of all, I figured it must have cost a mint to get a silver string for my harp. And then there was what happened when I put the string on. Suddenly, the lower "C" on my harp didn't sound sour anymore; it sounded like music! I was blown away, and last summer at Scoil na gClairseach I got four more strings from Ann herself. Suddenly I was excited about my small harp again. It's always been a beautiful instrument, but the moment I heard the way those five silver strings sounded, all I wanted to do was play that harp. Yum.

So since February, I've been dealing with the brass strings I had to put back onto the Witcher to replace the two silver strings. They'll be here in a couple of weeks!
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (performing)
My new, custom-made, perfect, perfect, *perfect* Harp Case from Glenn Cronkhite

It arrived today, not long after I wrote the growly post about calling ParcelFarce. (I like that name, [livejournal.com profile] dyddgu!) In fact, I admit I half wrote that post as insurance. You know, like hanging clothes means it's going to rain and carrying an umbrella is a talisman against rain? Yeah.

Anyway. Want to see some pictures? I know you do! )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (telynorharp)
New Community: [livejournal.com profile] wireharp

Yes, I know there'a already a [livejournal.com profile] harp community, but wire harp discussion tends to be, er. Different. ;-)

So if you're intersted, hop on over there. I don't know how busy it will be, but it's another part of my quest to get more involved with the harp world.
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (performing)
Of Silver Strings

Recently, we had a [livejournal.com profile] sailing_harper, and we did all sorts of fun things with her and I enjoyed being a tourist in London once again, and all was Merry And Gay, Hey Nonny Nonny.

[livejournal.com profile] sailing_harper is a deeply capable, caring and talented woman. I met her at a weekend seminar I taught at once a long time ago, and mostly through her efforts, we've remained mostly in touch over the past five years or so.

Before she came to visit, we talked about harps (duh) and which ones I had at the house in London and what they were like. I told her the story of how my beloved 24-string Witcher came into my life and mentioned that Jay, while he's a genius and all, has a reputation for overbuilding (ya think?) and understringing, and that my lowest string particularly was a bit thuddy, as were the two or three above that. She asked me a couple of questions, including the length of the string, and I sucked and didn't get the answers back to her until just the week before she came here, and that was that.

But tell us of the silver string! )

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