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Has tuning got you all wound up? Watch & read below the break for some help with that!
A few cautions:
This is one method of tuning a harp. There might be another that you prefer or that works better for you.
Especially when you’re beginning to tune the harp, be sure to just move the tuning key a little (as in a hair) at a time. The more you do it, the quicker you’ll get at it & the more you’ll get a feel of how much you need to turn the tuning key.
Make sure to always keep your hand on the tuning key when it’s on a tuning pin. If you leave it hanging on the harp, it could fall off & hurt the soundboard.
Note to teachers...
I usually teach my students tuning in the circle of 5ths, especially if they are first learning to tune their harps.
Here are a few benefits:
Students learn (consciously or subconsciously) fifths
Students can "batch" notes - they get in the groove of one note across the harp at a time, instead of having to reset their brains with each string
Now to the tuning!
Now to the tuning!
First, observe which direction the harp string winds on the tuning pin. In the example I used for this video, the string winds away from the column (toward the harpist). It tends to be the opposite way on many larger harps, so just be sure to remember which way you need to turn the tuning pin to make the string tighter (sharper, higher), & which way to make it looser (flatter, lower).
If the note shows up on the tuner as sharp, loosen the string (in this case, away from you/toward the column). If the note shows up on the tuner as flat, tighten the string (in this case, toward you/away from the column).
Make sure the correct note name shows up on the tuner (if you’re playing a C string, “C” should show up on the tuner). If a different note shows up primarily (sometimes other notes can make an appearance as well...don’t sweat it if it’s just briefly...I think it has something to do with overtones), decide whether that means the note is flat or sharp. For example, if you play a C string & “B” shows up, you’ll need to sharpen the string -- because B is below C. If “D” shows up when you play the C string, you’ll probably need to lower the string since D is above C.
For this method, we’ll be tuning in 5ths. We’re going to start with C. Here’s the order:
Then, I like to check the harp’s tuning by ear. In this case, it would mean playing C major scales. If any notes sound out of tune, just check them with the electronic tuner & adjust as needed.
Want to see more tuning vids? Check to see if I added any more to the Fischarper tuning playlist. :)
I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions, leave ‘em in comments or let me know on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe!
Until next time, thumbs up!
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Welcome to the blog! I'm Barbara, and I work as a freelance harpist and private music educator. You can read my bio here. On the blog, you can find posts about various aspects of this career path, especially teaching and crafty stuff. Thank you for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you in the comments or on social media. And don't forget to subscribe to the email list for updates!
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