Inside the instrument case – Harp revelations

By Annette Zerpner March 29, 2022


© Tobias Kruse / OSTKREUZ

Ronith’s harp travels safely in a sturdy black case. It is so large that the musician (or orchestra attendant) transports it on a handcart. Of course, it stays in her dressing room. For us, she emptied the case completely and brought the contents onto the stage. Sometimes her instrument is protected by a red cover.


Ever arrived at the Great Hall early before a concert? Then you may have seen Ronith performing a procedure in which harpists invest a lot of time: 47 harp strings need to be tuned! She always has her tuning key and a tuner with her. And spare strings are always near at hand, of course. As with string players, she is particularly careful with her fingernails: “I always have nail clippers and other accessories with me to trim any ‘claws’.”

From Ronith’s instrument case

What looks like a corkscrew handle is actually the tuning key!

A little glamour is definitely part of being a musician.

Ronith regularly waits backstage or in the dressing room for her turn, because the harp is not included in many works. That’s why reading material to bridge the breaks is part of her gear: “Along with a charger for my iPhone, in case I don’t want to read.” Water and vitamins are never missing. Before things really get going, besides an espresso, Ronith also needs “my make-up💄, of course!”

Espresso and reading material for waiting periods

Prof. Ronith Mues has been principal harpist in the Konzerthausorchester Berlin since 2007 and also plays – as our last photo shows – in the Horenstein Ensemble. Find out more about her unique instrument here.

Photos: Tobias Kruse/OSTKREUZ (cover portrait), Markus Werner

More about the harp



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