began playing the harp nearly 30 years ago. Led into his love of music
and strings through the guitar 12 years earlier, he played in surf bands,
studied classical guitar, and developed his own free form open tuning
playing style. Upon discovering the
Pedal Harp, which has the potential to change tunings as you
play, Roark felt he had discovered his perfect musical instrument match.
Pressing on any of the 7 pedals at the base of the harp shifts 6½ octaves
of corresponding strings, to become any scale or chord that one can dream
of; a mechanical and musical marvel with linkage in the neck of the harp
like a watchmaker’s gearshift.
This frees the harpist to be in the mode of the music like no other
instrument, and a musical wet dream come real for Roark who was never the
same after hearing and playing his first pedal harp, and all those strings
harmonizing and resonating there all at once right before his face.
Now after 25 years and 4
generations of customizing and rebuilding harps, he has created his perfect
instrument from a 75 year old Concert
Pedal Harp, the same model as played by
Harpo Marx, with 55 pickups for its
46 strings [double for the bass], and a dampening system that allows for
different playing styles, that brings the harp out of its sweet, soft closet
into the realm of a potent and powerful instrument. It is the
female getting in touch with its stronger male side; a marriage
made in heaven for Roark who feels the music plays him and takes him on a
trip that he loves.
Back in the 1980’s he
built the Sonic Sculpture, ‘The Wind
Harp’, featured in the Guinness Record Book 1984-1989, as the World’s
Largest Harp. He has released 8 Compact discs and lives in Santa Fe,