Logo Glissando

Telefon: +49 9172 669211 service hours: Mo-Fr. 8:00-17:00 Uhr

harfe@glissando.de - E-Mail for harp inquiry

versand@glissando.de - E-Mail for mail order

buchhaltung@glissando.de - E-Mail concerning questions about invoices and paymants


Bernadette Kerscher
Heidecker Straße 4
91187 Röttenbach


Open Mo.-Fr. 8:00-17:00 Uhr, Sa. 9:00-13:00 Uhr

for expert advise about harps or harp service it is necessary to make an appointment


How you find us

Our premises are in 91187 Röttenbach, Heidecker Straße 4
We are located 40 km south of Nuremberg in the south of Germany
Important: in a GPS please search with PLZ 91187 oder complete address, "Röttenbach" is a current name around here and sometimes customers turn up in the wrong "Röttenbach" , one hour away.

Types of harps

The harps that are usually played today are diatonic instruments: in one octave they have 7 strings. Tuned in in C-major that would be C-D-E-F-G-A-B (= the white keys of the piano). if you wanted to play another note (the black keys on the piano) you would have to change the string length.

On a lever harp ( sometimes called "celtic harp " ) the strings are equipped with semitone levers, that shorten the string and raise the note by a semitone.
That allows to play in 8 different major keys (and the 8 corresponding minor keys).

In former times these "levers" were simple turnable hooks, that did not work very well. The modern semitone levers permit exact and easy alterations. However there is a natural limit to the number of alterations you can manage in a tune because you need to manipulate the semitone lever with your left hand .

Music arranged for lever harp takes this into account , the optimal places to change the levers are marked in the music sheet.
The lever harps made a great revival beginning in the 1970ties, today they are the standard instruments for beginners on the harp.
The problem of changing keys and performing alterations is solved in a different manner on pedal harps by a pedal mechanism : the strings are shortened by small turning disks that are activated by 7 pedals. When you step on the C-pedal, all C-strings are shortended , and the sound is sharpened from C to C# . With pedals on a simple action harp you can only sharpen the sounds, as on a lever harps, so you can not play other keys than on a lever harp. The single action harp ( invented in 1720 ) was developped further to the Double action harp, or Concert harp, where you can sharpen and flatten the sound by a semitone - and therefore all 12 keys are available. The pedals on a concert harp have three positions : middle = natural C, down = C# , up= Cb .

This basic difference in the functionality of the harp types defines the range of musical styles you can perform : For tunes that heavily change keys or alternate notes, as it is often the case in classical music or Jazz, you will need a pedal harp. For many kinds of folk music a lever harp is perfect, furthermore there is a lot of music composed or arranged specially for the lever harp.


For a beginner a lever harp is a good startig point: the playing technique for the fingers is the same on all harp types (the string tension will vary, it is ususally higher on a Concert harp), so everthing you learn is useful if one day you decide to dive deeper in classical music and want to change to the pedal harp In our harp exhibition you can see, hear and play all types of harps ..

So the best way to get more information is to plan a visit to Glissando - we will take the time needed to show everthing and discuss your indivudual needs and plans.