Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Disclaimer: People who love harps may be offended by this post. People who own harps will very probably be offended by this post.

I think harps are stupid. Well... mostly just pretentious. But also kinda stupid.

Why do you need a harp? The answer is... you don't. Whenever I see someone playing the harp I feel like they're judging me for using Suave shampoo and owning Sketchers. I feel like their homes are made of gold and they only come into public to make people feel inferior by playing an instrument that costs as much as a Toyota Prius. They are the bourgeoisie and I am the ukulele proletariat.

Harps are pretty, certainly. But so are fountains, and at least you can throw stuff at those. Harp owners have very specific rules about activity regarding their harps. You're not allowed to touch harps, move too erratically around harps or breathe too forcefully in the direction of harps. I've never been more tempted to jump around and wave my arms in every direction than when I was around a harp.

Harps produce lovely music, certainly. But listening to harp music really just makes me feel like someone has strapped me into a chair and forced me to watch non-stop footage of clouds and waterfalls. Meanwhile, I imagine the harp yelling at me, "This music IS ethereal and you LOVE IT." Do I, harp? Do I? I know I'm supposed to, but really....? Let's get some accordion in here and call it a day. At least you can polka dance to accordion music. I've never polka'ed but I know I would prefer it to having beautiful images shoved into my eye sockets while getting brow-beaten by a stupid harp.

Fast forward about 20ish years. Imagine my 13-ish-year-old girl child comes up to me and says:

Girl Child: Mom, can I have a harp?
Asia: No, but you can have an SUV because they cost the same and one is considerably more useful and less dumb than the other.

My girl child will be so much better off. And so will the world.


  1. Hey Asia! I own a harp and I am not offended by your post. There is truth to it if you aren't very exposed to the harp culture. I hope that you can understand WHY harpists are so over-protective of their instruments, considering how much they cost. Mine was $18,000 and yes I chose it over a car after high school because I made bank in CA from performing and a car just keeps costing money.UT is not so friendly to harpists since there are so freaking many of us here.

    I don't have a nice fancy house for my harp. It looks awkward sitting in the back room of my small apartment between the full closet and covered desk. No gold house. Sorry.

    I am a harpist, and while I definitely get the, "I am way more sophisticated than you" vibe from others, I love having kids come sit with me and play my harp.

    As to the harp music, there is a LOT of great modern not-as-"clouds and waterfalls" type. Check out:

    and (skip to 2:18)

    Yes that is a blue harp. Pretty awesome if you ask me. But I am a harpist and I don't want to make you feel inferior. I am however working 2 part time jobs and playing gigs wherever I can get them while putting my husband through college. Come over any time, I will bust out some Led Zeppelin or Pink Panther for you. :)

  2. One of the most stressful theater gigs of my life was ASMing BYU's Homecoming Spectacular 2003 because there was a number called 'Harps in Motion.' Imagine an 8 harps and a dozen modern dancers sharing a 50x50 stage. It was super hard to get them on and off stage in a timely, but myharpisworthmorethanyourlife-manner, but even worse was having to listen to them perform for 6 minutes.

  3. Remember the Doxey incident?

  4. So I worked at the Harp Archives at the BYU library and filmed and edited harp concerts for about a year. Many harpists do judge you for wearing sketchers and using suave, but many don't.

    One of the strangest musical experiences I've ever had was in Ireland while filming a "new music" concert. One number included, among other weirdness, six harpists resting electric toothbrushes against the sound boards of their harps.


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