Single Action Pedal Harp

Around 1700 the German instrument maker Jacob Hochbrucker (Donauwörth) invented a new kind of harp: the single action pedal harp.

He added pedals at the base of the instrument that were connected with hooks at the neck of the harp through a complicated mechanism in the column and the neck. These hooks shortened the strings upon the movement of a pedal, raising the note by a semitone. This newly invented instrument made it finally possible to play in keys with many accidentals in a rather uncomplicated manner.

Due to initial technical problems that made the instrument somewhat unreliable the single action pedal harp had rather limited public interest until the middle of the 18th century. When Marie Antoinette started playing the harp, employing harp makers and harpist at the court, the instrument became the fashion of the day. Spreading over all of Europe the single action pedal harp was equally popular amongst the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie.

Maximilian Ehrhardt plays works from the early Classical to the early Romantic period for harp solo, as well as ensemble and orchestra works on the single action pedal harp. He is one of the few musicians playing basso continuo as well as written out accompaniments on the harps from the Classical period.

He plays on a Louis XVI harp with crochet-mechanism by Beat Wolf (Schaffhausen, 2001) after an original instrument by Renault & Chatelain (Paris, 1791).


Solo Works

by Heinrich Backofen, J.G. Bürckhoffer, Jean-Baptiste Cardon, Sophia Corri-Dussek, Martin Pierre Dalvimare, Jan Ladislav Dussek, Meingosus Gaelle, Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz, Phillippe-Jacques Meyer, Benoît Pollet, Louis Spohr a.o.

Ensemble & Orchestra Works

Christoph Willibald Gluck, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Anton Bernhard Fürstenau, Meingosus Gaelle, Pierre de Lagarde, Giuseppe Millico, Ignaz Pleyel, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Giuseppe Sarti, Gioachino Rossini, Heinrich Backofen, Caspar Kummer, Jacques Bouffil a.o.


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