Electric Lever Harps
The next big
thing in pedal harp development is a true electric pedal harp.
By this, we mean a harp that is not acoustic, has no soundbox.
it- the reason we need massive strings on pedal harps is to supply
the oomph needed to set the big soundbox into motion. The reason
we need such large and heavy soundboxes is to withstand the huge
tension of the pedal harp strings. The reason our joints and
tendons give out is from pushing and pulling this system around
year after year.
what about Harp Sound?
soundbox has a profound effect on the sound of any given harp.
The quality of the sound we hear depends on how efficiently the
energy from the strings is radiated from the surfaces of the
soundbox. A solid body harp can be engineered to present the
same interface with the strings, and the resulting vibrations
(the sound) are reflected back and captured by the pickups. With
pickups against all the strings, all vibrations are converted
instantly into sound, nothing is lost. There is very little inertia
to overcome, because we are not pumping that big heavy wooden
box. The result is a delightful harp sound using a greatly scaled
back system. Think in terms of lighter gauge strings, easier
to pull, capable of more nuance, yet filling the hall with beautiful
To take this
next step (something the guitar world did generations ago), I
am focused on building harps without soundboxes, true electric
The first Kortier
Electric Pedal Harp available for sale was this 40 string instrument,
larger than most lever harps, but smaller than most pedal harps.
This instrument is particularly useful to jazz harpists and others
who love the harp but want an instrument that is a better visual
look, and is more accomodating to the venues they most often
This is an
important factor to consider in choosing an instrument to play
on stage or with a band- FEEDBACK.
We have all heard electronic feedback, that high pitched noise
from a maladjusted sound system. But there is another kind- If
you have a harp with an acoustic soundbox it will vibrate according
to the sound waves bombarding it from all directions. If you
have a pickup system installed in or on your soundbox, it will
capture these random vibrations. They are amplified by your sound
system, and fed back acoustically to your harp, intensifying
the situation. This is often heard as a low rumble, or rough
sound. At the least, your harp sound will be less clear. The
solution is a solid body on the harp. It will not vibrate sympathetically
with the suroundings, and your output will be pure clean harp
A further option
is the addition of MIDI controller capability. The electric pedal
harp is particularly suited to implementing this exciting possibility.
The MIDI software (from other vendors) is installed on your PC
with an interface box to route the audio from the harp into the
computer, and to route the synthesized sounds back out of your
computer. What this means is that you can play with normal harp
sound, with synthesized sound, or with a combination of the two.
The possibilites are without limit.
advantages of a solid body electric pedal harp apply to all harpists.