Beginning Pedal Harp rep. Suggestions

Posted In: Repertoire

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    Andelin on #209196

    Hello all!

    I finally got a pedal harp! Thanks to a kind and generous harp column friend. ;). (You may make yourself known if you wish, but I will protect your anonymity if that’s what you prefer.). It’s a beautiful l&h style 85 SG.

    I’m looking for a few suggestions of pieces or books to purchase as someone who is not new to harp, but new to pedals. Where’s a good place to start? What are some things that you think “every harpist should know?” I’ve had this harp since June 1st, so I am reasonably familiar with the pedals, although the coordination to move them quickly or simultaneously is still coming along.

    Thank you in advance. :). Have a fabulous day!

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #209281

    The ABC of Harp Playing and Pathfinder Studies by Lucile Lawrence will help you get acquainted with the pedals. There are many, many solos now available to you, so buy them all! Ask your teacher what to study.

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #209397

    Salzedo’s Method for the Harp has a great selection of studies, all of which use the pedals in interesting ways. La Désirade is a wonderful little piece, full of pedal slides.

    balfour-knight on #212304

    I just read these posts, and agree with Saul and Elizabeth. Also, Andelin, I was taught to practice arpeggios beginning with C-E-G, in all keys. Do them left hand on C-E-G, then right hand on the same notes an octave higher, left hand an octave higher, right hand an octave higher, topping with the key note (C) with the left hand before descending. Then change pedals to play D flat-F-A flat and do the same type of arpeggio up and down alternating hands as before. Continue on to D-F#-A, etc. and work all the major arpeggios up the harp until you get to C-E-G once more, which will be an octave higher than you started on. Does this make sense? It would be much easier to write it down on music paper, ha, ha!

    After you master this, try it all with the minor arpeggios. I guarantee that you will be totally familiar with all the positions of ALL the pedals after practicing these exercises! Good Luck!

    Harp Hugs,

    Gretchen Cover on #212314

    Are you teaching yourself to use the pedals. If so, I would strongly recommend you have a harp teacher or harpist show you the correct way to use the pedals. If that is not possible, watch a lot of tutorials on YouTube. Josh Layne and Hannah White have excellent teaching clips. It is very important to learn to move your petals quietly and without banging the base or letting the pedals fly up. You may want to build your repertoire simply by using your existing lever harp music. Then you can focus on quiet, smooth pedal changes in places you would normally flip a lever.

    balfour-knight on #212316

    Good to hear from you, Gretchen! These are all excellent suggestions. We enjoyed spending time with Josh Layne at the Camac Festival. He is so nice and willing to help folks learn all about the harp, with his own special pedaling technique, so fun to watch him do!

    I wanted to add about doing the chromatic arpeggios, that one good way to practice them is to use all sharps going up, then all flats going down. Incidentally, this is a super exercise to also do on the lever harp. I keep my lever harp tuned in C Major, so everything has to be a sharp instead of a flat using this tuning. It helps me to think “outside the box” with substituting sharps for flats, like A# for B flat, etc. (A C7 chord is SO interesting spelled c-e-g-a#, ha, ha!) But at least, Gretchen, there are NO C flats on my lever harp, you know! 🙂

    Have a great Thanksgiving,

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