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Monday, November 28, 2011

Harp Obsession by Romance Author, Donna Hatch

If you've read my books, you may have noticed that I have a thing for harps. A harp can be found in all of my books. In The Stranger She Married, I mention a harp standing in the corner of the music room. In The Guise of a Gentleman, a harpist plays during the wedding breakfast. In Queen in Exile, my heroine is a harpist. If I ever get Courting the Countess published, you'll see that the heroine is a harpist.

So why the obsession with harps?

It began when I was about 12. I had just started a new school, and the teacher announced that a harp teacher had offered to teach harp lessons to any student at the school who was already in the school band.

Something came alive inside me that day. Every cell in my body woke up. I knew then that I had to play the harp. Somehow.

After class, I went to the teacher and said, "I don't play in the band, but I really, really want to learn to play the harp."

She said, "Go talk to the band teacher. Maybe you can work something out with him."

So I did. I told him the situation. He listened patiently, then asked me, "Do you know how to play any instrument?"

I shook my head, sickened that I might miss out on this opportunity. "The piano, but only a little."

"How long have you played the piano?" he asked.

"About a year."

He thought, and said, "Okay, you can play the keyboard in the band."

I think I must have yelped out loud, or as much as a painfully shy new kid could. This was my chance. I was now in the band. Which meant I was eligible to take harp lessons.

The harp teacher taught me harp lessons once a week that school year, and even let me borrow her Lyon & Healy harp a few weekends a month to use for practice. I loved it! When we moved at the end of the year to a new state, I pestered my parents into letting me continue to take harp lessons. I took lessons for years on and off, despite moves, family changes, and financial problems.

This picture is a Lyon & Healy Troubadour harp, much like the one I first learned to play.

Years later, I no longer play for weddings or in church. However, I teach, and I still love playing for my own enjoyment. It relaxes me and quiets the noise in my head.

Here is a picture of the harp that I play, a Lyon & Healy 85 petite. It's a little smaller and a lot lighter than a full-sized concert grand, but it has a lovely sound and fills my soul with peace.

Not coincidentally, when I write, I listen to one of three things: my cats purring, instrumental new age piano music, or harp music. There's nothing like it. It's almost magical.

Does music play a role in your life?


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Donna,
Great blog. Afraid music doesn't do much for me, I am tone deaf.



Judith Ashley said...

Hi Donna, I chuckled when I read your question - Does music play a role in your life?

I remember my parents grimacing,shaking their heads in dismay as I listened to Elvis, Credence Clearwater, The Beattles, Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys (well, my Mom liked some of The Beach Boys).

Now, my 15 year old granddaughter grimaces and shakes her head in dismay when I insist it is my turn to listen to 'my music' on the oldies station. LOL - and I do the same for her music (she's into rap which I don't hear as music).

There are some of her songs that I do like "Sexy Chick" has the great beat of 'the oldies' and Adele's "Someone Like You". Bruno Mars has some songs I like "Grenade" and "Just the Way You Are" are a couple of examples.

However, when I write, I like the quiet...

Sarah Raplee said...

Isn't it wonderful the way a good teacher can enrich a child's life? We all seem to have at least one special teacher that helped us become happier, more fulfilled adults.

I agree with you, Donna, that harp music is magical. No wonder we associate harps with angels!

I'm like Judith in that I like it quiet when I write, but my heroines and heroes have their own 'theme songs' that I associate with them.

Loved your post!

Donna Hatch said...

Judith, I'm with you--rap doesn't resemble music, IMHO. Thanks for stopping by Margaret, Judith, and Sarah.

Rachel Rossano said...

Donna, I love harp music. There is something ethereal and magical about it. My mother, a lifelong pianist, has wanted to play the harp for years, but never managed to find the time to learn. Someday, perhaps, she will. :)

I eagerly await your next book, by the way. :)

Diana Mcc. said...

Harp music is beautiful. I could see where it would put you in a zone for writing. I've never written to music on my own, but in a writers class once we were to write about the images the music brought to mind.

That was very interesting and when the writings were read, they were all over the place from western plains, to historical scenes. All from the same musical piece.

Vonnie Alto said...

I absolutely agree with your take on harp music. There's nothing more ethereal and tranquil than a harp. I particularly like Celtic harp music. And yes, instrumental is best. I also like dulcimer music too. Both instruments produce light airy enchantment that instantly and evocatively whisks me away to another realm. It's ideal music for relaxation and writing.

Paty Jager said...

Donna, Harp music is beautiful. Adn I have music on most of the time when I'm not writing and sometimes when I'm writing. But it has to be acoustical when I'm writing. I love music!