Beginning, Ear, & Crossing Over

Posted In: How To Play

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    Biagio on #190340

    OK the topic is sort of a teaser. We’ve had some recent discussions on technique, playing by ear, and moving between instruments so I thought I’d throw this out as a suggestion. In an article in the Folk Harp Journal (Spring 2015) Cynthia Cathcart discusses what she calls “divided-hand” technique. Very basically this amounts to keeping fingers 4,3, and 2 of the LH fixed (or anchored) while the LH thumb is free to move around as a member of the melody hand.

    “What’s so interesting about this?” you may ask. Weeeelllll….first it is a fairly radical departure from the more usual method of fingers having assigned intervals. Second, learning this technique is an excellent way of simultaneously training the ear to recognize intervals. And third, it is a wire harp technique yet crosses over very well to gut/nylon.

    Finally it reminds me to put in a plug for the Folk Harp Journal. While the FHJ does concentrate on the lever harp there are also plenty of pedal harp articles and members, just as many lever harpists join the American Harp Society.


    balfour-knight on #190343

    Biagio, I use that LH thumb technique without previously knowing that Cynthia had discussed it! Good for her–it is very useful.


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