Downtown Show: 700-Foot Earth Harp

Musician William Close brings his otherworldly instrument to LA.

Aural or listening tours of our cities have popped up, here and there, over the last decade or so. They're not all that common, but when you find one, you can count on enjoying a night out of music or street sounds or the buzzing of heavy equipment or the murmur from a busy club.

But whatever sound you're expecting to encounter in a city, you're probably not thinking you'll turn a corner and encounter a whimsical wonder that's billed as "the largest stringed instrument on the planet."

We are, in fact, speaking of the Earth Harp here, and musician William Close, if that was going to be your next guess (and our guess back to you would be that you'd seen him perform on the massive instrument at Burning Man or The Kennedy Center or via "America's Got Talent" or all three).

Mr. Close, and his epic, tonally rich harp, will appear in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, Dec. 10, for two performances. The shows are part of the DTLA Art Walk, an event that normally summons sound-focused artists as well as those participating in the visual arts.

The Earth Harp, which is stunning to see in addition to its aural qualities, will be erected at City National Tower at the Plaza and connected to nearby building, as in, literally connected. "The newly extended Earth Harp, featuring 24-36 strings, will be a mesmerizing sight and sound experience when attached 700 feet high to the iconic City National Plaza Tower..." reads Mr. Close's site.

That's pretty dang high for things that fly, like birds or kites, but a harp? Let's confidently call this quite out of the ordinary.

The performance times? Six o'clock on Dec. 10, and again at 8 p.m.; both are expected to last for 60 minutes. The vibe? Art Walk calls it a "holiday concert," though the harp's ethereal vibes always contain an element of otherworldliness, which plugs into the ethereal nature of the season.

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His hands are well-gloved, LAist noted, and guest artists will join the alfresco performances.

If you have experienced the Earth Harp at Burning Man, out on that vast and empty playa, how will the skyscraper-filled setting alter the moment? Or will it?

And will you ever listen to the sounds of downtown quite in the same way again? Might a few minutes with the Earth Harp freshen your senses to the surroundings?

Just a few deep-ish questions to ponder while you let all of the reverberations from those long, loooong strings wash over you.

The performances are free to see.

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