All giddy about harmonics!

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    sherry-lenox on #163294

    Having at last found something I am actually capable of doing on the harp, I’ve naturally spent all my practice time today flipping out harmonics on all of the 36 strings of my harp, and I notice that I’ve heard what sounds like a 12th on one of the lower metal strings. Is that so?

    I haven’t heard of any reference to any harmonics used for harp except octaves, and basking in my new found skill, I wondered if that’s the case or if there have been things written that exploit the rest of the interesting harmonics I’m finding.

    barbara-brundage on #163295

    Hi, Sheery. Yes, you can play harmonics at the 12th, but they don’t carry so well. Salzedo’s Poem of the LIttle Stars is all about harmonics at the the 12th. It’s in Sam Pratt’s ‘Wedding Cake’ collection.

    barbara-brundage on #163296

    Sorry for the typo, Sherry.

    sherry-lenox on #163297

    Fascinating! After playing lots of harmonics on my Serenade I just tried them on my Rees Aberdeen, and they’re popping out fine there too. So I guess I’m not a one joke wonder. Now if I could only do anything else harpistic!

    diane-michaels on #163298

    There are many harmonics available on each string, although bringing them out is another question.

    bernhard-schmidt on #163299

    For my interest… is there also with the harp players a difference whether the Harmonic are played over or under the octave point?
    It is all the same on which side of the octave point the harmonics to be played.
    From my occupation with more traditionally Chinese music I know that another tone quality develops in music. Harmonics on the side of the Sound table are to be supposed to have a male tone quality..Harmonics on the side of the neck are a female tone quality.
    This is for me also audible on the harp.
    How about the harpists ?


    unknown-user on #163300

    I have tried the 12th harmonic closer to the sounding board, but find it less resonant, because the resonating length ends at the neck, not the board. I wouldn’t call it more male! I thought of you today, because I had changed all my g strings, so the tuning became quite interesting and gave the harp a new coloring.

    Harmonics are among my favorite things on the harp, though I find it hard to play an entire piece made of harmonics alone. I have used the 12th harmonic in a few of my pieces.

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