The Earth Harp is the longest stringed instrument in the world, with strings that extend up to 1,000 feet in length.
The first Earth Harp was invented in 1999 by artist/musician, William Close.
The Earth Harp uses architecture and landscape as part of the instrument. The architecture becomes the instrument.
The Earth Harp’s first installation featured the resonating chamber mounted on one side of a valley with the strings stretched out nearly 1,000 ft to the other side.
It turned the valley into a giant harp!
How does the Earth Harp work? The Earth Harp is played using violin resin on cotton gloves and musical bows. The performer’s hands are run along the strings to created beautiful cello like tones. The act of rubbing the strings creates a longitudinal compression wave.
This vibration is similar to the vibration patterns that produce tones when you run your finger around the edge of a wine glass. It is also similar to the vibration patterns created while playing singing bowls.
As William Close experimented with some of his early design concepts, he created a method of tuning the giant long strings; using a specially designed tuning block that he discovered could tune the strings to any scale.
The instrument is typically tuned in an A minor scale……flats and sharps can also be included for certain installations, this is easily done by shifting the tuning block.
Earth Harp History: The first Earth Harp was created and installed in 1999 by artist/musician, William Close. This installation featured the Earth Harp resonator mounted on one side of a valley with the strings stretched out to the other side.
Since that day in 1999, William and MASS Ensemble have created hundreds of Earth Harp installations all over the world…..from the Grand Theater of Shanghai to the Space Needle in Seattle, each installation is unique to it’s own environment. An Earth Harp installation celebrates the architecture and landscape of its surroundings. The environment and architecture are transformed by the strings, forever changing the perception of those lucky enough to see the installation.
MASS and The Earth Harp have performed at world-renowned festivals including:
· The Grand Theater at the Shanghai International Arts Festival
· Grand Auditorium at the Macau International Arts Festival
· The Coliseum in Rome for La Notte Bianca
· A 9th Century Mid-Evil Castle in Italy for the Verrucchio Festival
· The Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo for Virada Cultural
· The Space Needle in Seattle for Bumbershoot
· Lightning in a Bottle
· Miami Sleepless Nights
…..And many more.
In addition, MASS and The Earth Harp have stunned audiences with their full-length performances at performing arts centers including:
· The Kennedy Center
· The Alys Stephens Center
· The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center
· The Carnegie Science Center
· The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture
· The Centre in Kerikeri, New Zealand
•MASS has also worked with Top Fortune 500 companies including; IBM, Samsung, Microsoft, CNN, Toyota, the NFL and many more.
•The Earth Harp has a permanent installation at Cirque du Soleil’s show “Ka” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.