Eleanor Loves Harp

Eleanor P. writes,

Editing and writing is my job but music is my passion and has been for years, playing various instruments and composing for all sorts of occasions. Coming across Harp has been mind-boggling and unbelievably exciting. The gentle sound immediately made me strum three basic linked chords and invent a folk song-like piece, complete with words, within minutes of downloading. It’s easy to work out different styles and ways of strumming to suit slow or fast rhythms, and the inspiration simply flows from there. All we need now is a way of recording it for keeps, but even without this, Harp is going to be used on my travels to keep me sane (how long can you play Angry Birds??) and as a substitute for getting out my guitar just to check how something will sound.

Tip: No Sound? Check the Mute Switch!

I’ve had a couple of Harp owners write to me saying that Harp isn’t making any sound, and that tapping the Volume control in the upper-right corner only produces a message to the effect that the volume control isn’t available.

The solution to this is simply to turn off the Mute Switch, which on iPhones is located above the volume control buttons on the unit’s left side. When the Mute Switch is on, the speaker will not play sound, but the headphones always play sound regardless of the switch setting.

How Do You Harp?

I am hearing from more and more serious musicians who are using Harp as an instructional, compositional, and performance tool. I’m starting to collect testimonials that I will publish here, along with links back to the sites of people who provide them. I’d love to publish your story too, so send it to feedback@harpapp.com!

Harp 1.1 Coming Soon!

I have submitted Harp version 1.1 to the App Store, which will be a free upgrade for existing users. Harp 1.1 includes a beautiful, realistic harp sound instead of the sine wave-based sound I used previously. It also loads much faster (the “loading progress” bar is now gone). But the really cool thing is iPad support! On the iPad, the strum bar is two octaves longer and the circle of roots is a true circle. Of course, on the iPad Harp works in any orientation. Plus, there’s ample room to add additional new features I’m planning.

Harp for iPad

I’ll have a new demo video up soon after the iPad makes its official debut on April 3rd.

JennHi On Harp

JennHi, of Los Angeles writes:

This app is everything I ever needed in a musical transcription tool. Anyone can haul out a MIDI keyboard or guitar, if they wish, to try to transcribe the chords of a song by ear, and how nice is it to balance a guitar on your lap while trying to write, or get room for a keyboard at your desktop? I have room for neither, and besides which, I don’t play piano or guitar. Enter “Harp”, a compact, easy iPhone app which will give you every chord you can think of and a friendly interface from which to pick the chord. It doesn’t insult your intelligence, either, by only giving you a major, minor, or 7th; it offers diminished and augmented triads, and the whole gamut of combinations for the 7th chords. Pick, strum, hear, match to the music. Within a half hour, I had everything I needed from Paul Williams’ Faust, a task that I had been putting off for years due to the hectic struggling to try to get all the tools together. Not bad for someone who doesn’t play guitar or piano!

Harp Reviewed at iPhoneMusicApps

I like the way Harp is laid out because I have easy access to the circle of fifths along with all the chord variations… that’s 168 different chords at my fingertips. It’s very easy to strum the bar on the right while changing the chords with the left hand. If you want to play an extended chord simply touch the root note and then glide or slide to the structure to extend the chord. It’s a great way to test chord progressions… you can quickly try different chord changes to help speed along songwriting or inspire new directions.

Review of Harp at iPhoneMusicApps.com

Oh, and we will be making the built-in sounds better, and we also have some other surprises coming for Harp. Happy New Year!

Avoiding Interruptions

When playing Harp, you may not wish to be interrupted by a phone call, alarm, or SMS. However, there is no way that Harp (or any iPhone application) can avoid these interruptions for you— you must do it yourself by deliberately silencing your iPhone or iPod. Here are the steps that Apple recommends:

  1. In the Settings application, ensure that the iPhone has Airplane Mode turned on.
  2. In the Calendar application, ensure that there are no event alarms enabled during the planned performance period.
  3. In the Clock application, ensure that there are no clock alarms enabled during the planned performance period.
  4. Do not move the Ringer/Silent switch during performance. When changing Ringer/Silent mode, an iPhone may vibrate, depending on user settings.
  5. Lastly, do not plug the iPhone into a power source during performance. When an iPhone gets plugged into power, it beeps twice or vibrates, according to user settings.
  6. Update: iOS 4.0 introduces “local notifications” which are alarms that apps can set themselves. So make sure none of the apps you use have any local notifications set to trigger during the planned performance period..

Version 1.0.1 Coming: Crackling Sound on 2nd-Gen iPod Touch Fixed!

Note: This problem only affects 2nd-generation iPod Touch owners. iPhone and 1st-generation iPod Touch owners are not affected.

Thanks for everyone’s helpful feedback on the crackling noise that appears when using Harp with the 2nd-generation iPod Touch. I’m sending version 1.0.1 of Harp off to the App Store today, so you should have the fix in your hands shortly. Thanks for your patience.