So there we go, then. And this is a very different instrument. There must be a point where a harpist switches to a pedal harp, even a small one, and suddenly realizes that they can’t actually play “the harp,” they can play their harp — and only their harp. I think it’s a bit like taking a foreign language class, doing well, and thinking that you can speak it when really, all you can do is understand your teacher.
I’m at that point. This is a radically different beast. It certainly sounds beautiful, and much richer, but the pedals change everything. Even the hand position has to change, because the location of the action below the neck takes out a lot of string “real estate,” and suddenly I’m much more constrained in how I can approach the strings. Even the feel of gut under my fingers is different, although this only has an octave and a half of gut on it (which pleases me since gut is unstable in pitch).
But I’m thrilled with it. 🙂 I can’t wait to get to the point where I can at least play a titch of something. For now though, it’s mostly Friou exercises with the slightest hint of “Vaga luna,” which only has one pedal change in it.
BTW, you have no idea how fun the Friou exercises are in freygische. 🙂
Just put down a deposit on a little Salvi Daphne 40 at the VA Harp Center and will go to try the thing out on April 1st. I should have my head examined, but it’s a nice little harp, and slightly dinged on the finish, which has dropped it to just under $7,000 — and I don’t think I’ll ever find a pedal harp that inexpensive ever again. Besides, I don’t give a damn about the finish. If it gets me a good little pedal harp that doesn’t weigh as much as a corpse for just less than $7k, you can ding it to within an inch of its life as long as it still sounds good, has good action, and is structurally sound.
I hope it sounds good and feels good under my hands. I’d love to be able to really get to work on things like the B theme from “Dove sei,” Schubert’s “Breit Uber Mein Haupt,” and Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” and other opera stuff like “Una furtiva lagrima” … and maybe even some piano things like Joplin’s “Bink’s Waltz,” which I think would sound fantastic on a harp, Grieg’s Elegaic Melodies, and even Ginastera’s second Argentine Dance, which would need some narrowing down since I will only have 40 strings (and which might not even be doable).
But it will be nice, provided the thing is in good shape and feels good, to be able to play what I want without constantly bumping into the limitations of a lever harp.
I want to hold onto my Ravenna, but I’m also thinking about how I might be able to consign it to them as well, although I hate to think in those terms. It feels disloyal. But if I’m going to be on the pedal mostly and will neglect the lever, then it would make more sense to consign the Ravenna so it will be used. If the little Daphne works for me and I end up getting it, I guess I’ll have to see how it goes with the Ravenna and whether I end up neglecting it.