A lecture introducing harp to non harpists, more to pianists and the relationship between it and the differences

Posted In: Teaching the Harp

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    mr-s on #89741

    I am going to write a lecture for a piano students introducing the harp, I want to write about the common sound effects between them and another harp sound effects that Piano can’t do it , any interesting informations here or any suggested pages or sites to read .

    kreig-kitts on #89742

    The glissando comes to mind. The piano can only play one kind of glissando, while the harp can play a variety of them.

    Since the piano works by striking the strings through keys, however, most things can be played much more quickly on the piano, and rapidly repeated notes and trills are far easier on the piano.

    Besides the lack of little finger usage, fingering patterns can be a bit different on piano. On the piano, you usually must work around the black keys so that the thumb avoids them, meaning fingering usually vary according to the key signature. On the harp this isn’t an issue, so any note can be a flat or sharp, and the pattern stays the same across keys. In addition, because the right hand on the harp is on the other side of the strings, the two hands play patterns such as scales and arpeggios identically. On the piano, because they’re both on the same side, the left and right hand must play patterns differently. For example, a b-flat major scale on a piano is different in the right or left hand, while on a harp it can be played the same way.

    barbara-brundage on #89743

    So glad to hear from you, Mr. S. I hope you’re in a safe place now.

    One of the great classics of harp special effects is Carlos Salzedo’s Modern Study of the Harp, which is available on the imslp for download:


    mr-s on #89744

    Dear Barbara thanks a lot for answering me , but couldn’t open the link you suggested , I have the Method of Salzedo, and the video by Lucile Lawrence .

    barbara-brundage on #89745

    Hmm, I wonder why not. It opens okay for me when I click on it. What browser are you using?

    barbara-brundage on #89746

    Here try the permalink and see if that’s any better for you:


    Also, are you having trouble with the linked page or the download itself? The download is available by right-clicking the down arrow and choosing Save Target As or Download Linked File, depending on your operating system.

    Alison on #89747

    Musically, what about repeated enharmonic notes used so much by Tournier (he wrote an illustrated volume of harp effects) and bisbigliano or shimmering effects, such as in the Planets / Harp II’s part towards the end (where there’s one system per bar). Don’t forget harmonics (not on piano) although bowed strings and guitar have these. Then pdlt and etouffe, playing with nails (Salzedo), those idiosyncracies. Convenience of rewriting chords, regular shape of arpeggios, easier hands over, easier transposition, easier nasty keys like C#, F# major…. 6 flats, setting the harp in the blues scale, etc.

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