NAMM 2013: Wheelharp
Antiquity Music is premiering the Wheelharp, a keyboard musical instrument that gives the player the ability to ‘orchestrate’ with a chromatic scale of sixty-one 61 actual bowed strings at one’s own fingertips.
When the player presses any key on the Wheelharp, the action moves the selected key’s respective string toward a rotating wheel with a rosined edge, thereby bowing the string.
With the right pedal, the player controls the speed of a motor that turns the wheel, which varies the bowing speed of the wheel against the string and thus changes the dynamic effect. For instance, the wheel speed and the key depth can both be used to create swells and decrescendos. The action for each note can easily be removed as necessary for maintenance or string replacement.
The left pedal controls a full damper system that extends across the strings. An electromagnetic pickup floats above the strings and a piezoelectric pickup is mounted to the soundboard, allowing for the player to fully control the amplified timbre of the Wheelharp.