There are different ways of making music.
- The harpist uses a car to transport her large instrument, sits beside it rather like you sit 'at' a piano, learns a very specific hand-technique which normally only uses the fingertips, and a classical repertoire of already-composed pieces. Except Harpo Marx, of course.
- A harper can take his harp on a train or a bus, holds it between his knees, often teaches himself whatever it is he needs, feels free to use both finger-tips and nails to express different emotions, plays both composed tunes and improvisations. Except Mary O'Hara, of course.
I think of myself as a harper: I can learn a tune or a piece from an old manuscript or some other written notes, but that's only the basis of what I play, and I don't look at the notes while I'm playing, what I play is an improvisation which might be based on a melody or a piece which was already written, but which is influenced by the situation, the mood, the people I'm playing for: and I trust it's a new experience which is created every time I play. I'm happy to play in cafés and in the streets, and the harp is a valued thread in the rich tapestry of life, rather than being the whole of life itself.