There’s an expression amongst harpists that we spend one half of our lives tuning and the other half playing out of tune!! Is this really true? Well, I’d say on some levels it really is true. For instance, the folk harp that I play/take to the hospital has 34 strings and my pedal harp has 47 strings. This is a lot of opportunities to NOT be in tune. And the other big factors are temperature and humidity. Every time the temp or humidity changes, there is a possibility that some or all of the strings won’t be in tune. In Minnesota (where I live), we go through extreme temp and humidity changes throughout the year. My harps are expected to “weather” these changes and hold their tuning regardless of the environmental issues. Luckily, both of my harps “hold” fairly well so this definitely helps.
I share this so the next time I’m playing “out and about,” please don’t judge me if I’m not perfectly in tune … I do my best (and ask the angels to help, too)!