Meticulous Markings

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Save yourself and your colleagues headaches from rental parts.

Volpe-Bligh-Elizabeth

“We’re all on the same team here, and leaving an unintelligible mess for the next harpist will come back to haunt you eventually,” says Elizabeth Volpe Bligh.

When you rent—whether it’s a car, a beach house, or even a harp—you are at the mercy of the previous renters. What you have to work with can be less than ideal—beat up, messy, poorly maintained. The same is true when it comes to rental music.

Rental parts comprise much of the music we play in large ensembles. Often the parts are marked so poorly that the beleaguered harpist has to cast about for a good eraser and a handkerchief into which to sob—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

We’re all on the same team here, and leaving an unintelligible mess for the next harpist will come back to haunt you eventually. The next person who gets that mess of a part might be you, your student, or even your appalled teacher.

So for the common good, I offer some guidelines for marking rental parts.

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About Author

Elizabeth has been the Principal Harpist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra since 1982, after 6 years as harpist with the National Ballet of Canada. She teaches at UBC, the VSO School of Music, the VSO Institute at Whistler and privately. In 2011, she was the Chair of the Host Committee for the World Harp Congress in Vancouver, and currently is President of the West Coast Harp Society and the BC Chapter of the AHS.

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