Yes, that’s really me playing on a swingset (near the Hunter St. Bridge in Peterborough, ON – another Harp Quest shot).
My fingers were chilled straight through!
Where is the strangest place you’ve ever played your harp?
First entry in the Urban Harp series. This one was taken during the infamous “Harp Quest” of 2002. (Boy, does that old page look dated now!)
The goal of the Millennium Harp Quests (which took place around the world after the turn of the new century) was to expand awareness of the instrument, encourage people to play in public, and generally spread lots of warmth and good feelings (Peace on Earth through harping – not a bad sentiment).
As a reward for finishing my personal quest (which was to play at 25 bridges and locks throughout central Ontario) I received a lovely little 19-string hand-made collapsible (!) Paraguayan-style harp. It has had a place of honour on top of my piano ever since, and still gets played regularly. It was even used to compose several tunes for small harp for my book, “A la Mode”.
You can click on the picture for a bigger version of the image.
Updated to add: Here’s the website of the guy who started it all: http://harpingforharmony.org/
Our small but mighty group for Peace Hour, Sept. 11th 2011. We played Ode to Joy, Dona Nobis Pacem, and sang John Lennon’s “Imagine”. I’m very proud of all my students, they did a great job! We also made a group donation to Amnesty International, in honour of Peace Day.
Thanks to Alexis & Harpists for Peace for organizing Peace Hour (which has become an annual event). For more information on Harpists for Peace, you can visit the official Facebook page here.
Some pics of my lovely new Dusty Strings Allegro (26 strings, Sapelle wood, built-in pickup).
The factory installed pickup is very cool, no extra wires to worry about, just plug in and go.
It’s got three points of pickup on the inside of the harp (only one is visible in the photo), so it should perfectly cover the full range of the instrument.
Update: The built-in pickup rocks! Tried it out with the little Pignose amp, and it worked beautifully.
Don’t know how it will interact with more sophisticated sound systems, but the lack of preamp didn’t seem to be an issue. Just tweaked the settings on the Pignose a bit, and it sounded great. Also could turn up the wee amp higher than before, so more volume with less feedback problems.
Now I just wish I could magically install one on my big harp (and no, drilling brand-new holes in the Wanney harp is not an option; call me paranoid).
The well-known picture of King David playing a triple harp, by Italian painter, architect and harp-builder Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641). You can click on the image to get a bigger picture. The colour in the larger image isn’t quite as good, but it does show more detail, including a bit more of the top of the painting, and you can see the strings on the harp more clearly.
A number of harp-makers have made replicas based on this painting. Since Zampieri was himself a harp-builder, one might assume that the harp is accurately represented. However, having King David play a triple harp of this sort is, according to Roslyn Blyn-Ladrew, “an anachronistic error by Zampieri of over 2000 years”. You can see Ms. Blyn-Ladrew’s full article here.