Frequently I am asked, “What is a good harp for beginners?” And, “What harp am I playing,” because they like its sound on my CD’s. In response to these questions I want to give you some guidelines and things to look for and take into consideration when buying your own harp.
I do have some favorites that I will tell you about, and also why I like them; and at the same time, I want to give you enough knowledge to choose a harp that will be a good choice even if it is not one of my favorites.
To start with, I currently have two harps. The larger of the two harps is the one I use for recording CDs and for traveling wherever I can drive by car or RV. It has 33 strings and full sharping levers which makes it very versatile and capable of playing with a broad range of other instruments in a wide range of major and minor keys. Since it is larger, and has a large sound box, it is capable of projecting a full resonant sound that carries very well. It is also lightweight, weighing 22 pounds making it easy to transport. It is a kit that comes from Music Makers out of Stillwater, Minnesota. Their website is:
It is my opinion that this is the best harp value for your money. It is a great combination of great sound, reasonable cost, and ease of transport.
The cost of this harp, without levers, is $2700 plus shipping, if I make it for you. I usually recommend not putting levers on at first so the beginning harpist can spend more time learning fingering and gaining confidence before adding the dimension of levers which allows the harpist to play in different keys. The levers can be added on later at a cost of approximately $500.
The other harp I have is a Harpsicle from Rees Harps in Rising Sun, Indiana. Their website is:
The model I have is called the Fullsicle which has a full set of sharping levers; one for each string. Without sharping levers it costs about $400, but with sharping levers, the price goes up to $850 and there is extra cost for shipping.
This is the harp I take with me on international trips. It can be carried on board aircraft and stored in the overhead bin of the airplane so you don’t have to risk checking it with the baggage handlers who will surely find a way to break something. This harp has a very good sound. Listen to its quality here:
I recommend this harp for someone getting started since it has good sound and its construction design is very strong yet it is lightweight and easy to transport. The cost is reasonable and once you have learned on it and graduate to a larger harp, you still have a travel harp. I have visited the Rees manufacturing facility several times and am quite impressed with their design, assembly and philosophy. (Even though we have the same last name we are not related… maybe distant cousins 🙂
There are many harp manufacturers available today. I would stay with those made in the USA or Europe. There are some coming out of Pakistan, China and elsewhere that I have seen that are inferior in construction and don’t have good string tension or sound. If you are looking at a harp with levers, make sure they are smooth in operation and the sound of the string stays consistent when the lever is engaged. Also make sure there is no warping, cracking or separation of the wood and glue joints.
If you want any guidance on a particular harp you are welcome to contact me using the form on the Contact page.
I really want to see more harps and harpists joining the ranks of playing calming harp music for their personal enjoyment and the enrichment of those who hear them. Let’s grow a “Calming Revolution”!
I keep talking about the positive effects of music on the physiology of our bodies – now some more scientific proof! Mamma Mia! Listening to Mozart lowers blood pressure…but ABBA has no impact!
Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in G Minor Lowered Blood Pressure
Relaxing to a soothing Mozart symphony can lower the blood pressure as much as cutting salt from the diet or exercising, a new study has shown. But for people concerned about their heart, it might be wise to stay clear of ABBA, which has no impact at all. Scientists in Germany played Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in g minor, dances by Johann Strauss, and songs by ABBA to 60 volunteers, monitoring their blood pressure before and after the experiment.
“The music of ABBA did not show any or only very small effects on blood pressure and heart rate.”~ Hans-Joachim Trappe
They found that Mozart lowered systolic blood pressure (the pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats) by 4.7 mm Hg, Strauss 3.7 mm Hg, but the Swedish pop group made no significant difference. Diastolic blood pressure (when the heart rests between beats) also fell by 2.1 mm Hg for Mozart and 2.9 mm Hg for Strauss. Previous studies have found that aerobic exercise such as cycling, running or brisk walking had a similar impact on lowering blood pressure. Reducing salt by 6 grams per day brings systolic blood pressure down by between 7 and 4 mm Hg.
ABBA Live At Wembley Arena Press Image
The lyrics in ABBA songs may have prevented the calming effect of music, say researchers. “It has been known for centuries that music has an effect on human beings. In antiquity, music was used to improve performance in athletes during the Olympic Games,” said lead author Hans-Joachim Trappe, of Ruhr University, Germany. “In our study, listening to classical music resulted in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. These drops in blood pressure were clearly expressed for the music of Mozart and Strauss. “The music of ABBA did not show any or only very small effects on blood pressure and heart rate. This may be due to emotional factors, but on the other hand, the use of spoken words may have a negative role.” The researchers concluded that to be of benefit, music must be: in a pleasant key, of skillful composition, have a consistent volume and rhythm, devoid of rousing sequences, have no lyrics, and have achieved a certain degree of fame and popularity.
Source: The research was published in the journal Deutsches Arzteblatt International.
I had a friend call me the other day and introduce a website and concept to me that I would like to share with you. This is another approach to the Solfeggio Frequencies that I believe has merit in offering a therapeutic medium for receiving positive effects from the frequencies. I really like what Michael and his team have done by sounding the different frequencies and then playing harmonizing instrumentation into the frequency – filling it out into wonderful worshipful music that brings the healing and peaceful atmosphere. It is another example of what I believe to be various forms of understanding these frequencies and how to employ them what God is releasing to His children for our healing and restoration. Michael tells anecdotal stories of healings he has observed, even with his own mother – just as I have observed healings as well with the harp music.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to share with you all an experience that I had this past week as my mother was admitted to the hospital with a severe case of pneumonia. She was having difficulty breathing, lacked any strength and could not get much if any sleep. My sister was with her in the immediate hours of going to the ER and then being admitted onto the Surgical ward of the hospital and when she called me to come and take a shift of watching with my mom, she said, “Mom wants you to bring your harp.”
When I got to the bedside, mom looked very worn and was really coughing a lot but could not get anything out so she was just getting worn out but couldn’t get any rest. I tuned the harp up and started to play softly and you could see mom visibly relax very soon and within an hour, she was sleeping. It was mid-day, but I kept playing so she could sleep since she had really not slept any the night before. She got a good hour in before the staff came in and woke her for a treatment.
The ability for the harp to help her relax and get some sleep was really good, but what I had not considered was the effect the music would have on the staff and other patients. All through the day, I had people coming to the room thanking me for the music. They said it was carrying all through the whole unit and the nurses said they hadn’t had such a calm day in their remembrance. Other patients and family would walk by and express their appreciation and ask me to continue – “Please”.
One fellow asked me what I would charge to come play for his wife in her room and I said nothing, and went over to play for her and her roommate. They were both in tears. They had never had the opportunity to hear a harp before and were really touched by the music and the fact that someone would come and minister to them in this way.
Some of the staff commented that they would like to convince the management to hire me permanently because of the whole different atmosphere that was there as the harp music played. It was just amazing how much the harp music affected the whole unit.
Over the next three days, my mom got better – yes there were medicines, but I believe the harp was an integral part of her healing. She was able to get more sleep and finally get rested up so she could heal better. Her breathing got much better and she finally started getting the stuff out of her lungs. She was able to start walking in the halls even without oxygen too.
When the time came for me to leave, there was much protest. “You can’t take the harp away!” I left some of my music mp3 files which admittedly were not as good as live performance, but at least helped ease the parting. Once again, I was reminded through this experience of the power of this harp music and the 528 Hz frequency to calm and heal.
Mom is home now, mending very nicely, thanks to our Heavenly Father, harp music and excellent care by the hospital staff. Thank you all!
On the Shabbat of January 10, 2015 I had the opportunity to share the teaching I have developed on the Music Frequencies found in the scriptures of Numbers 7:12-83 and how they apply to the Hebrew alphabet characters from Psalm 119. I have already posted an abbreviated version of this teaching on YouTube, but this teaching is more detailed and many are sharing it on Facebook, so I thought I would make it available to those who are following this website. It is a fascinating idea to think that we can bring music out of the Hebrew text of the Psalms and other passages and discover the relationships between the words and the sounds. This is how much of the music that I have available as samples on this site has come about. I am hoping some of you will join me in exploring the possibilities of this music with different instruments and approaches of interpretations of the chord progressions found within the Hebrew text.