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  • Double-strung harp

     Annette Mead updated 3 months ago 5 Members · 6 Posts
  • Carolyn Ancell

    Member
    4 March, 2021 at 2:01 am

    A few years ago, a “summer harp friend” (defined at bottom of message) lent me her double=strung that her husband had made for her. I was challenged (I love challenges) and hooked all at once. Long story short, I now own a Stoney End Eve (22×2 strings) and a Lorraine (29×2 brings). And am totally addicted. Although I have not parted with my Heartland carbon fiber single-strung, I haven’t played it in two years. I play restaurant and assisted living gigs on the Lorraine, and play, as a Certified Music Practitioner, in hospice and hospital (until pandemic) with the Eve held securely in place with a surcingle. The biggest challenge for me is always finding adequate lighting (to see both rows of strings) outside of the controlled environment of my own home. I have MuseScore on my computer, and am constantly rewriting single-strung music to fit the double-strung.

    “Summer harp friend”: My husband and I spend summers away from Tucson’s heat in a rural RV park in the AZ While Mountains. One summer day, I walked into the regional hospital there to visit a friend, and found a harp in the lobby. I sat and waited, and soon a harpist appeared. We have been fast “summer harp friends” for 4 years now. We meet weekly during the summers on the porch of our little park model, and work on duets. Gave a concert together two summers ago. One is in the works for this summer, with the inclusion of a third harpist I met while visiting a church on the Apache reservation. Wonderful harp world!

    Carolyn Ancell

  • Sophie Gurung

    Member
    10 March, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I down graded from a 34 strung harp to 22 strings about 10 years ago as I like the portability of a smaller harp. Recently though I’ve been playing a lot more and restrictions on pieces I can play due to accidentals is getting increasingly annoying so have been thinking about going double. I’m worried though that after so many years playing single I will find double really hard. How do you work out the fingering or is their sheet music specifically for double strung? I also struggle with being able to see strings as it is!

    • Markus Faller

      Member
      10 March, 2021 at 9:51 pm

      Since this year I have a double-strung harp. The tone is wonderful (mine is made of cherry wood) and sounds like a larger harp. A double-strung harp is a completely different instrument compared to a normal harp. Improvising on it is very easy and definitively fun. The right and left hand are completely equal, so you learn to play the same stuff with both hands. You can then also use this on the normal harp. Because you can’t see the right strings so easily, you learn to play blind, which is very helpful. I can improvise for hours and never get bored. I think playing double-strung harp is not more difficult than a normal harp if you use it for free improvisation. But indeed playing pieces takes a little longer.

    • Carolyn Ancell

      Member
      11 March, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      There is an increasing amount of print music for double-strung harp. Check out Melody’s Traditional Music. Also Carolyn Deal’s online double-strung tutorials are fantastic. I have pretty much shifted exclusively to double; although my lovely single still rests in the living room corner (not quite ready to part with it). Can rent or borrow a double strung harp for a bit before making the leap? I pretty much adapt all my past single strung music to my double. It sometimes takes some creativity (like moving a note to one side or another, playing in a different hand than is written). I have MuseScore on my computer (the free version), and re-write my old music for my double. Takes a bit of time to learn to use the app, and then a bit of time to write out the music; but it is well worth the effort. But be kind to yourself, and start with music someone has already written out for the double.

      • Annette Mead

        Member
        14 March, 2021 at 12:23 am

        I will definitely check out MuseScore, especially if there is a free version, it sounds like a helpful program! I don’t play a double just yet but that’s part of my dream someday to learn! I’m new to the harp and ideally I would like to buy my own in a few months. I’ll start with a larger fllor harp, but I think if I’m going to want something smaller and more portable later on, then why not go for double strung? I’ve heard there’s a lot of fun things and techniques for double that just aren’t possible on a single row of strings. Could be really fun for harp therapy!

    • Amanda Barnes

      Member
      13 March, 2021 at 3:55 pm

      I currently have a 26 string harp but am seriously thinking about getting a double strung as well. I’d love to rent one but haven’t found one in my area.

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