The Lyon & Healy Concert Grand Pedal Harp that Barbara plays was built in Chicago, Illinois. Lyon & Healy has been a leading manufacturer of harps for decades and is known world wide. The concert harp is the harp best suited for orchestral, choral and chamber music. With few exceptions, most of the classical repertoire was composed for this harp. The range is nearly that of a piano and is capable of similar volume.
There is no need for amplification of a concert harp for church services, weddings or parties of under 100 guests. The sound it produces is percussive enough to be heard over conversation while being gentle enough that is is not overpowering.
Because of its chromatic abilities, the repertoire available for this harp is far greater than that for the Renaissance harp or the Celtic harp. It is surprizingly versatile and included in the repertoire is music that suits everyone. The nature of a concert harp leaves its intonation unpredictable in outdoor settings and for that reason, this instrument is only used for indoor engagements.
Barbara Fackler plays her Renaissance harp in a variety of settings. This small harp is an historic copy of a harp that would have been found in Europe during the Renaissance period. At only eight pounds, it is easy to transport, offering a harp that goes places that are a challenge with concert harps. Wired to a small battery powered amplifier, this instrument offers the beautiful sound of the harp out of doors with very little difficulty.
The Renaissance harp is the perfect instrument for outdoor events. Because of its light weight, it can be moved long distances and over uneven surfaces with greater ease than a concert harp, making the choice of the location less restrictive. It is strung in nylon which is far less sensitive to temperature and humidity changes that cause the gut strung concert harps to go out of tune quickly. This instrument is more likely to sound beautiful in what can be a less than friendly environment for a harp. Its intonation is fairly stable. It is easily moved without assistance and can be moved quickly in the event of a rapid, unforeseen weather change. The nature of a concert harp leaves its intonation unpredictable in outdoor settings. Harpists who do take their concert harps outdoors usually charge extra, while there is no extra fee involved with the outdoor use of the Renaissance harp.
Small harps, like the Renaissance harp fit beautifully in hospital settings and other small spaces. Its ease of transport allows performances at bedside in hospital, hospice, palliative care units, nursing homes and other similar settings. Unamplified, Barbara's little harp can fill an intensive care unit with music that soothes and comforts those suffering from pain, boredom or restlessness. Studies suggest that harp music effectively ministers to those suffering with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. It also aids in tolerance of pain, often resulting in the need for fewer medications. Visit Harp Instead for more information about using harp to promote wellness.
Barbara Ann Fackler, NE Ohio harpist