Harp vs Piano

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Harp vs Piano

The harp has a very rich warm tone and a number of special techniques/effects while the piano also has it’s own plus unsurpassable speed but perhaps a colder timbre. Harp scoring of chromatic passages is quite complex.

A key difference is that in the harp the fingers play directly on the string while there is a mechanism between fingers and strings in the piano (save some extended techniques) which perhaps lends more expressivity to the harp. The piano can sound very mechanic.

Both instruments can be used to imitate bells and some other percussion instruments.

My favourite harp music by far is Stockhausen’s Freude for voice and two harps

My favorite harp music by far are,

Harp concerto by Handel

And Mozart’s flute and harp concerto,

The harp has a very rich warm tone and a number of special techniques/effects while the piano also has it’s own plus unsurpassable speed but perhaps a colder timbre. Harp scoring of chromatic passages is quite complex.

A key difference is that in the harp the fingers play directly on the string while there is a mechanism between fingers and strings in the piano (save some extended techniques) which perhaps lends more expressivity to the harp. The piano can sound very mechanic.

Both instruments can be used to imitate bells and some other percussion instruments.

You can fix the colder timbre of the piano by tuning the keys to just intervals, giving it much more brightness and resonance.

See Young’s Well Tuned Piano, or Riley’s Harp of New Albion (which is not a piece for harp lol but a piece for just-tuned piano).

I have no idea why more 21st century composers don’t use overtone-tuned just pianos in their pieces more often. 12 TET should just be a relic. String, wind, and brass players of contemporary music are being more and more required to play microtonally, it makes sense that overtone-tuned pianos should be a mainstream standard for 21st century chamber music.

Of course, “now that Boulez is dead all music sucks” according to you so it doesn’t really matter anyway.

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