Pixie Harp - standing model, chromatic (= with semitone levers)

These versions use QuickTime 7 - there are YouTube versions here

Cassandra (1:10), anon 17th.C
with harp, flutes, clarinet, accordion, guitar, bass

Professor Blackie (5:38), Scott Skinner, c.1900
with harp, guitar, bass, flute, clarinets, accordion

Warm thanks for Hicky for teaching me the tune!

David's thoughts on semitone levers:

  • historically, they date from the 18thC, so they don't belong in earlier music

  • yes, OK, they allow you to change key easily

  • but I've found that if you do it *during* a piece, it disturbs the flow and concentration, people even laugh

  • I've never found any which were properly in tune: if you want to change key *between* pieces, you get a much better result if you re-tune the string yourself with the tuning key

In short: I find them a nuisance, an inadequate half-solution, I don't use them, Gildas Jaffrennou included them when he made my own harp, but I took them off. When you play pieces that need changes of sharps and flats, you can 'cheat' and suggest the missing note so that people don't notice.

I find the diatonic Pixie harp without semitone levers much more intimate and elegant than the clumsier chromatic version with semitone levers. The fact that the one model doesn't stand on its own is no disadvantage at all: it sits beautifully between your knees when you play, and lies stable on its back otherwise.