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The Harp Doctor is In

Today I returned to the Salvi showroom in Anaheim to fetch the Wurlitzer I’d left last week with Peter Wiley, the harp doctor. Pedal harps need to be seen by a harp technician once every year or two for a regulation because the use of the pedals over time causes all the thousands of moving parts in the mechanism to get out of alignment. At a certain point, intonation is affected enough that the harp no longer plays in tune. An annual regulation is just part of good harp maintenance.

Because of some other repairs that need to be done to my harp first, Peter wasn’t able to do my regulation this time around but we had a good time talking and I learned so much more about the intricacies of the inner workings of the instrument. Peter is one of the world’s most patient people - not only does he take the time to perfect every little nuance of harp intonation and repair, he also expertly soothes the jangled nerves of over-wrought harpists (and we
are an easily over-wrought bunch).

Peter Wiley repairs a harp at Salvi
Peter Wiley, the Harp Doctor


I took the time to play some of the exquisite instruments in the showroom and found that lately Salvi has been making great refinements in their designs. Smaller harps with sensitive soundboards are delivering bigger fuller tone. Showroom manager Alexandra Perdew played her favorite instrument for me, the beautifully inlaid Arianna model. I don’t have words to describe the lush rich sound that came from that harp even though it’s brand-new. As it gets played over time it will open up and develop an even more tremendous voice. It had already been sold and will soon be on its way to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where some very lucky students will get to play it.

Alexandra plays an Ariana harp
Alexandra plays Salvi's Arianna model harp