FAQ of a Harpist

Leigh Stringfellow answering questions about the harp in Boone, NC

The harp is a unique instrument. Most of us don't see one everyday! When I'm moving around town, or out playing for an event people always stop and ask questions and I love the inquiries. Questions range from practical, to polite and a bit zany! What can I say? At 6' tall the harp gets noticed. Have another question? Ask in the comments below!

Q. Are you a harpist?

A. Yes!

Q. How do you move that?

A. With a padded cover, a dolly and my car.

Q. Are you an angel?

A. I'm afraid I had to become a pilot to earn my wings. (I earned my private pilots license when I was 17, and my IFR rating when I was 19).

Q. Is that an oven mit?

A. It's a harp dressed up in it's case! My favorite is, "Look, it's the state of Michigan!"

Q. How do you move it? Don't you wish you played the flute?

A. While moving the harp can be cumbersome, I really love it!

Q. Why does your harp have polka dots? -Age 5

A. Those are screws for the harp mechanism.

Q. Why are your strings different colors?

A. They map the note names. The red strings are C and the black strings are F. 

Q. How much does that weigh?

A. 86 Pounds!

Q. What are the pedals for?

A. A harp is strung diatonically. The strings are basically only the white keys on the piano. We have 7 pedals to change from natural to flats/sharps, or the black keys.

Q. How much does that cost?

A. A new concert grand pedal harp is about 30K.

Q. How many strings does it have?

A. 47 strings.

Q. Do you know Joanna Newsom? 

While I don't know her personally, yes, I'm familiar with her music.

Q. What do you think of her music?

She's a singer song-writer with a harp, which I love. 

Q. What kind of wood is it made of?

A. The sounding board is sitka spruce, hard maple for the rest and a tiny bit of bingo around the edge of the sounding board.

Q. How long does it take to learn?

A. We are always learning! I started taking paid gigs when I was 14 in December of my 9th grade year.