There’s an inherent Catch-22 in starting any instrument; the “starter” models are usually inferior in just about every possible way. This makes the whole experience unrewarding exactly when you need the most motivation. The SweetHarp changes all of this, plus is a very viable option even for the professional harpist.
As a professional musician and teacher for many years, I’ve encountered a lot of harps from all over the world, and am notoriously fussy (hence my lugging my Cithara Nova all over creation rather than renting locally). On Saturday I stopped by Chris Caswell’s home to view another hot-off-the-press SweetHarp – they go fast so it’s tricky to catch one in person. The eager new owner had already arrived early, but was gracious enough to let myself and my student Archana test drive it.
We were both instantly charmed. Having seen the SweetHarp via Chris’ video, it’s even prettier in person. It rests very securely against the body – unlike many lightweight harps, which bounce around and generally feel like you have to baby them – allowing for great dynamic range. A brand new harp, the tuning was holding beautifully, boding well for it’s future reliability, and I’d call the string tension medium/light, although this is always a flexible and personal preference feature. Levers can be added as desired. Very impressive, and most importantly to me, was the quality of sound, which would definitely be acceptable even in a concert situation. This is a real instrument, not a compromise harp.
Archana ordered a SweetHarp on the spot – as a beginning harpist but pro dancer/musician, it was key to find a quality instrument that is affordable yet will see her through a great deal of progress. For myself, I am very excited to discover a travel option (given the detachable legs, this harp is quite compact yet looks sizable when played) that both sounds lovely and looks good on stage. Airlines have become increasingly difficult to deal with regarding instrument transportation, not to mention the ever-present ground transport issues, so it is a great relief to encounter the SweetHarp.
Really, this harp has so many applications, whether you’re a student, performer, teacher (excellent option for renting out to students, which I plan on doing when I’m not traveling with it, or as an additional studio harp), healing harp therapist, the list goes on…you cannot go wrong! And don’t get me started on the price – Chris seems to be practically giving them away at the current figure: in these times, that’s certainly something I am grateful for. Thank you, Chris, for pouring so much experience, love and dedication into the SweetHarp!