Emily- I actually learned the whole piece but didn’t quite get it to performance level. It’s a strange piece. The first two pages are not difficult at all. Low to middle intermediate level. But the last three pages are VERY difficult!
There’s one other issue that is critical to being able to play this piece, and that is the amount of room in the first octave for your right hand. Renie wrote this on an Erard Gothique, like the one pictured in another thread,”My ‘new’ Erard. Erards have an enormous amount of room in the first octave, making this piece much more playable. Unless you have a harp where you can get your right hand easily into the first octave, this piece is out of the question.
Some 23’s have sufficient room at the top but many don’t. I personally would not be able to play Contemplation on a 23. Not enough room at the top, and the first octave is too high and behind my head. I much prefer semi-grand harps because the first octave is lower and not so far back.
Ok–I know nothing about this piece and don’t pretend to–but maybe you could transpose the piece into a different key to make it easier to play. It may be too difficult for that kind of thing–but it is an idea.
It really can’t be transposed lower because the beginning of the piece is already very low on the harp. It would sound like I was moving furniture if I put it any lower. No, the answer is to play it on a harp that has sufficient room up in the first octave.
> the answer is to play it on a harp that has sufficient room up in the first octave.
Or just deal with it, as the hundreds, maybe thousands, of harpists who’ve played this piece on older L&H harps do. It is much harder on a harp with a short first octave, but, like the Great Gate at Kiev, it can be done. It sure didn’t disappear from the literature during all those years when most people had a tricky first octave.
Barbara- If I tried to play that on most harps, I would have cut and bleeding knuckles after the first 3 measures. I’ve got large hands and long fingers, and over the years I’ve found that there are certain pieces that I simply cannot play on anything but one of my own Swanson harps or on the Lyon & Healy Wagner harp that I rebuilt for myself years ago.
Well, Carl, it is certainly a lot harder on those harps, but gosh, as I said, it never stopped anyone else in all the years when pretty nearly everyone in this country played a L&H with a short first octave.
I’m not arguing that it’s not easier on a harp with decent amount of room up there, just that an awful lot of people have done it and survived. 🙂
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