The study of the harp is highly complex. The history of this fascinating instrument requires a degree of savoir-faire in many subjects, including music theory, history of music, wood-working, mechanics, and many more otherwise seemingly unrelated fields. I would like to thank my father, Dr. Michael McVoy, not only for his unquestioning support of my musical and academic pursuits, but for his conference upon me of a love for old things. Himself an amateur luthier and antique restorer, I attribute my love of historical instruments to him and to his lovingly reproduced replicas of medieval and renaissance instruments; his beautifully carved lutes, and his one tiny 12-string harp. In my adulthood, Dr. McVoy was instrumental in my study of historical harps and has been an essential help in the study of the early American harps documented in this paper.
I must also thank my main subject teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague, Sylvain Blassel, not only a teacher, but a long-time friend and supporter, for his essential consult in the writing of this paper. A living repository of harp-related knowledge rivalled by none, even in today’s digital age, Sylvain has been a constant source of wisdom and support, for whose guidance I am forever indebted.
I would like to thank the research staff at the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague, and specifically my Master's circle leader Anna Scott and my wonderful research supervisor Pete Saunders for all of their advice and guidance in this process.
Lastly, I wish to thank the myriad of other researchers, many of them amateurs, who made the research presented in this paper possible. The harp, while being an instrument largely ignored by official scholarship, has nonetheless drawn in a core group of truly passionate researchers, whose findings have been published everywhere from Yahoo message boards to the Cambridge University Press. Among these researchers, I would like to thank Mike Baldwin, for graciously allowing me to take on the subject of early American harps despite his extensive research in the field, harp restorer Howard Bryan, for his comprehensive practical knowledge of historical instruments, and the myriad of contributors to the various online forums dedicated to the study of historical harps whose work consistently exceeds, by far, the standards of such a platform, and, in my humble opinion merits no less than publication in scholarly publications.