At the harp hospital

The harp goes in for a service

The harp goes in for a service, looking a bit nervous

The harp is well overdue a checkup, as it’s starting to make some odd buzzing noises and is slightly out of tune.  So I took it to Niebisch and Tree – expert harp repairers, who handily live only a few minutes’ drive away.

I find their workshop utterly fascinating, as there are harps there in all stages of life.

Harps yet to be born in the form of crude blocks of wood with patterns drawn on them. Newly-made harps that are just a polished frame needing to be strung. Harps waiting to be serviced and regulated, and harps that have met with terrible accidents – the thought of which make my heart lurch in sympathy.

While I was there, Nigel Tree let me take a couple of pictures:

Caption

An embryonic harp

Half-made harps

Half-made harps

Patterns for harps

Patterns for harps

A beautifully painted soundboard - sadly no longer playable

A beautifully painted soundboard - sadly no longer playable

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23 responses to “At the harp hospital

  1. Beautiful shapes. NO wonder they make beautiful sounds.
    http://doctorbeatnik.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks for visiting 🙂
      They are the most gorgeous instruments in the world – I still can’t really believe I get to play one!

  2. I play guitar, which was tricky enough to master. But the harp seems like a whole other world of musicianship to me. Such moving music too.

  3. So cool that you play a harp. It always seems to make the player angelic in my eyes. 🙂

    http://www.theprettyproject.com

    • Thanks – I’m not terribly angelic, unfortunately! I’m sure angels are meant to be blonder and more elegant… 🙂

  4. Fascinating – thank you for sharing! North Coast Muse @ http://sally1029.wordpress.com

  5. i absolutely love harps. do you listen to joanna newsom?

  6. Interesting! Surprising!

  7. I like almost all string instruments – harps inclusive.

  8. I admire your talent. I walked by a studio room the other day and heard a harp playing. I peeked inside and saw the beautiful instrument with its talented musician. I wish I knew how to play any instrument.

  9. i play guitar for years but still i am not good at it. its nice if you can play some instrument. and as far as i know harp is hard to learn. i salute you.

  10. Wow that soundboard is beautiful, what time period is that from?

    • I’m not sure how old the soundboard is – there were loads of them – including a really intricately painted one that I didn’t manage to take a picture of. The soundboards have to be changed after a while (decades) because they’re simply not strong enough to stand the tension of the strings and can explode.

  11. The story of your grandfather gives me hope: I’ve been playing guitar for years, but harp, piano, and violin are on my list of things to do before I die.

  12. Here’s a story I copy/pasted onto my blog. It’s a tear-jerker, and one you might especially like , since you’re a harpist. It’s called, “The Harp Story” ~~ http://gloriadelia.wordpress.com/the-harp-story/

    p.s. have kleenex handy! 🙂

  13. I wish I was a harp string so you could play me.

  14. Pingback: Hospital for harps – from Kat Arney’s blog « Ashgate Publishing Blog

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