This unique prototype of an electronic, MIDI and OSC harp is a large concert harp. As such, it therefore has forty-seven strings, which places it among the instruments with the widest range, along with the piano and the organ. Each string can produce three different notes (flat, natural and sharp) depending on the position of the corresponding pedal.
The small logo above evokes the MIDI connector, which is the fundamental
raison d'être of this instrument.
Jakez François, the director of Camac, a French harp maker, had already dreamed of it when he was still a teenager. For over half a century, synthesizers existed for those who played keyboards, and only for them. It was essential to rectify this injustice and allow harpists access to this vast range of sounds, to this incredible gateway to other musical worlds!
Jakez dreamed of it, and Jakez made it happen in collaboration with engineers from IRCAM
The first prototype emerged over a decade ago. Strangely, it didn’t generate the expected enthusiasm. After traveling all over the planet, a second prototype surpassed it, and it is the one we use today.
Depending on its configuration and the device to which it sends its MIDI or OSC signals, this harp can virtually play any imaginable sound. It can be a harp, an electric guitar, a synthesizer, a trumpet, a gamelan, thunder, wind, an elephant, a cricket, words, a fountain, a diesel engine… It can also produce unknown, unheard-of sounds. Its only limits are those of the imagination.
Moreover, thanks to score tracking, it can trigger real-time events other than just sounds. It could be changes in timbre, tempo or other settings, data sequences used to modulate sounds or move them in space, notes sequences sent to virtual instruments…
In this duo, it can take on the role of a symphony orchestra as well as that of a soloist or a concertante instrument.
This harp is played by Christophe Saunière.