I met baroque harpist Nanja Breedijk at a master class in France several years ago and had an opportunity to play her triple harp. Whenever I shifted my head the perspective on the three rows of strings would change. I would describe the experience as dizzying! One row of strings in enough for me.
It’s hard to see in the photo, but the triple harp actually has three rows of parallel strings. The two outer sets are tuned identically to a major scale and the inner row of strings provides all the chromatic notes, making it necessary for the harpist to deftly fit their fingers in between the outer strings to pluck a note on the inner row when they need an accidental. And people think that tuning a regular harp must be difficult!
Twin-Cities harpist Stephanie Claussen invites audiences to explore new locales and eras through her music. Influenced by her love of fairy tales, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the world music section at her local library, she performs a unique mixture of Scottish tunes, J.S. Bach, and anything rich in medieval or French harmonies. Sign up for her e-mail newsletter to receive important announcements and notifications of upcoming performances.