The Harp and Native American Style Flute

firstharp

For the past few years, I’ve been fascinated by the harp. I wondered how would it sound with my WrenSong flutes. I wondered if I could learn to play it. I wondered if I could make one.

Finally, there are some answers.

The harp and Native American style flute sound beautiful together, but I knew that.  The Am pentatonic Native American style flute plays well with a harp that has no sharping levers (my harp) — in C .  The Em pentatonic flute plays well with G major (one sharp) and the Bm pentatonic flute plays well with D major (two sharps).  There are others, of course, but pentatonic flutes in each of these 3 keys make it very easy to improvise with the harp.

I have made my first harp — a 22 string and it is amazing to play it. Hear below my first harp and Am flute recording.

 

And I am excited to be taking my WrenSong flutes to The Harp Gathering in Archbold, Ohio, in May.   The Harp Gathering will be at Sauder Village.  If you are nearby, do stop in to visit.

As a vendor, I’ll be in the exhibit hall, which is open to the public, with my flutes and kanteles.

Of course, I hope to also pick up tips for playing the harp by attending a couple of sessions during the three-day event, May 12-15.

It looks to be a festive time, and with all the opportunity for beautiful music, I can hardly wait.

8 comments

  1. earthbalm · · Reply

    Would you mind posting a more detailed description of the harp and the build process at some time?
    Thanks for a very interesting post,
    Dale

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  2. Hi Dale,

    My first harp was a lot of fun and really an experiment. I downloaded free Waldorf harp plans from Sligo harps and used wood in my shop originally destined for other projects. I was intense about building and didn’t take process photos. I built in between making flutes.

    Poplar neck and pillar with 1/8″ ply sandwiched for strength. Soundboard is 1/8″ birch ply with maple rib. The neck has a gorgeous streak of purple dark in the grain.

    Next harp will be more travel friendly.

    Will do a more detailed post for you after I return from the Harp Gathering. Are you thinking you might try building a harp?

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  3. I couldn’t play the sound clip sadly as I would like to have heard it.

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    1. Hi Tootlepedal, Sorry to hear the Soundclip didn’t play. It is now up in Soundcloud which I think takes the Flash player to sound. If you still don’t hear it (on another attempt) I will need to embed it another way, or send you a link to the mp3. Thank you for your interest in hearing it. I appreciate that you are a music aficionado yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My security was blocking my first attempt but even when I got the play button to come up it said it couldn’t play the clip, suggesting that I might be an unstable browser.

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  4. Lovely sound. Thank you for posting and letting us follow your music making career. I wonder, when you say your next harp will be more travel friendly, just what would that be? Do you have plans, and may I get them? You know that I am an amateur instrument making (mostly NAF style flutes) and have made old time banjos, Appalachian and hammered dulcimers, and tin whistles. I have long thought about doing a harp.

    Peace, John aka FishDoc

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    1. Hi John,

      The harp I made is based on the freely downloadable Waldorf plans found at Sligo Harps. I made the sound box larger at the bottom to give the lower strings more volume. But that makes the harp a bit of space hog. A smaller sound box, or perhaps no soundbox with a pickup instead, might be in order.

      My pillar and neck could be reduced in thickness, making the harp lighter. I do not have plans for this next harp, but will work on modifying several that are out on the Web to design something I will try.

      If you have seen the design at haydenharps.com, the sound box is vertical rather than horizontal. This in itself is an intriguing design although I am not working in carbon fiber. This harp maker will be at the Harp Gathering so I am looking forward to checking out these harps.

      There are several places for purchasing or downloading harp plans online. I have looked at many of them, but settled for Sligo because I could utilize wood I already had.

      If you build one, let me know!

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  5. […] morning, I attended Lynda Kuckenbrod’s Beginner’s Jam and Harp Circle. I played the harp I made and also played my Am flute that plays well with harps tuned in […]

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