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Selecting Music

What kind of music can be played on the harp?

by Kari Gardner

Practically any type of music can be played on the harp, but not every piece/song of each type is possible. For example, some jazz songs can be played on the harp. But not every piece which is jazz is suitable to for the harp. One of the main limiting factors is the way in which a harpist changes the strings from natural to sharp or flat (See the discussion on Lever and Pedal harps on the Types of Harps page). The lever harp is more limited in repertoire choices because one of the harpist's hands must stop playing to make the changes, and only so many changes can be made at one time. The pedal harp is capable of an expanded repertoire, but even with the harpist's feet making the changes on the pedals, only so many changes are physically possible within a span of time.

So all these types of music and more can be played on the harp: classical, folk, rock, jazz, showtunes, music from movies, new age. But if you have a specific song in mind that you want to have played, it is best to check with the harpist first to make sure that song is playable on the harp. And if you would like a specific type of music, check to make sure the harpist you're hiring has that type of music in his/her repertoire.


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