Dear John Rutter

Posted In: Repertoire

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    Sid Humphreys on #61993

    Or should I say “Dear Oxford University Press”
    I have just spent the afternoon going through Rutter’s “Gloria” and re-writing the pedal markings on architects tape to cover the ones that were printed in the music. Please republish this piece and let a harpist write in the pedal markings!! The architects tape should come off without harming the music but if it does, it will surly make the next harpists life easier not to have all that scribble that is (a) out of order and (b) unnecessary to re-print for a gliss when YOUR PEDALS ARE ALREADY THERE! And I know that you guys thought the handwritten font would be cool but every musician that sees this piece wets their pants just a little because it looks sloppy therefore making it difficult to read.
    There. I’ve said my piece.

    carl-swanson on #61994

    Sid- I’m assuming from your post that the pedals that are there are wrong, and not simply not the way you write them. It certainly is awful to play a part where the pedals have been put in incorrectly. it’s just as bad, or worse, when a rental part which has been used by 50 harpists has the pedals written in 50 different ways: one harpist likes them in red pencil, another in green, another between the staves, another only below the bass staff, another left foot above right, another visa versa, and on and on and on… I wish harpists would a) find a standard way of writing pedals and stick to it for parts that are going to be used by other harpists, and b) that harpists would just suck-it-up and learn to read other peoples pedal markings, even if they are not written the way that harpist writes his/her pedals.

    Sid Humphreys on #61995

    No Carl, the markings for the pedals are correct. But in one measure of rest, for example, you have an E natural over an F sharp followed by a C sharp. Should be E over C followed by F. Then every time there is a gliss, all pedals are marked (if you’ve been playing as written, by the time you gloss the pedals are set). When you’re reading this piece it looks like 7 pedal changes in one measure (one beat to the measure). When all pedals are written, they are in this order, c d e f g a b.
    I can usually quickly make out others pedal markings but this is a part of the printed music. I can’t even begin to describe how confusing this piece looks. BTW, all previous markings had been erased. If this piece weren’t rental only I’d buy my own part and use some white-out!

    justin-lo on #61996

    Really can’t agree more. I’ve had a very similar experience with his “Feel the Spirit”. The pedal markings were mostly right, and you thought “Good! They got everything,” but inevitably there were wrong/missing markings here and there that messed things up. I’d really wish they just left everything blank. To make it worse a previous harpist just wrote every marking between the staves when the original ones were right below – in awful handwriting. It’s not like I hate reading how others write markings, but at least write legibly. So I ended making a copy for myself and did my work there.

    Sylvia on #61997

    The British stuff is hard to get, but I always get new parts and put in my own markings. I hate to see parts already marked, regardless of who marks them, and the ones marked by composers are invariably marked wrong because they don’t know what they are doing. I don’t know what makes them think they should mark harp parts…I mean, would they write in bowings on string parts??

    kreig-kitts on #61998

    It seems reasonable for composers to mark the notes for glissandos, since those markings tell how the glissando should be played and sound, and are therefore part of the composition, as opposed to pedal change markings to assist the player. I usually see them in parentheses marked as a string of letters or the first octave in cues or note heads (except where the composer relies on software playback too much and hasn’t written for harp before, in which case It’s a three octave run of 64th notes).

    I’ve only been playing in large ensemble a few years but have already found many printed markings not very useful and some incorrect (too early, too late, redundant, or missing), but leftover player markings have been problematic as well. I think it was last spring I played a piece with a prominent harp part, and the rental part had a player’s markings, in red ink to boot, with wrong pedal changes on a solo section. I can’t help but wonder how the last performance sounded.

    Tacye on #61999

    I am inclined to laziness so my heart sinks when I get a fresh part – usually it is much easier to read a used part or make alterations as needed. And being in the UK that does mean parts with French or German pedals which my feet can read if not too fast… But please – 2B pencils and not dug into the paper!

    Alison on #62000

    I’ve just had a request for the Requiem so I got the part out and I see what you mean about the way it’s been pedalled by the composer, I presume. Somehow I don’t think it’s the copyist.
    I live so near to Oxford it’s tempting to contact them but I think we have a protocol here to do these things thro’ the UKHA. From the promotional video with Catrin Finch last year I noted that the composer learnt about the mechanics of the harp as a boy when rehearsing Ceremony of Carols but obviously he doesn’t DO the footwork, so as they say…”a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” – he seems very approachable why not write (to) him to explain the preferred conventions & the basis for left/right pairs and sequences.
    Perhaps he has always assumed we read pedal changes horizontally, whereas we use vertical pairs in split-second slots along with the music and since pedals are NOT arranged CDEFGAB left to right, we’d really prefer a pedal diagram under glissandos.
    (NB – a timpanist asked me to identify the pedals for him and he too asked me to show him which pedals were CDEF… and of course I said “No, no it’s not like that” etc.)

    Alison on #62001

    Sid, Why not put this down in writing – there are several points here, take it offline and we can send the request onto Catrin to put to him, so there’s only 3 of us in the loop. John Rutter is a prolific composer so it would improve matters going forward, assuming Catrin hasn’t already shown/nudged him, when they worked together last year on “Blessing”.

    Sid Humphreys on #62002

    Alison, I played the Requiem just a few months ago, I was surprised that it really wan’t hard (usually Rutter is notey and fast). You’ll like it I’m sure. The Gloria isn’t hard inn the harp either, it’s just the way it’s presented that makes it difficult.
    I did put in the pedal diagram (white tape) over the printed markings for the glisses but if you follow the music there is no need to change pedals for most of them. It just causes panic when you see 7 pedal markings in the one beat measure before a gliss!

    Alison on #62003

    Sid – on second thoughts we could ask Catrin if she would liaise with the composer herself and send her the link for this posting…. I mean it’s not as if we’d have to explain it to her…… she has a professional relationship with the composer..

    Maybe non-harpists assume pedals are arranged C-B left to right.

    David Ice on #62004

    I just got the new “properly printed” harp part for THE FANTASTICKS and I’m glad to see that the pedals were gone over by a harpist, and the glisses are properly marked–down to the “circle system” where only the pedals that need to be moved are circled on a pedal diagram!

    Sid Humphreys on #62005

    Alison, I think it would be presumptuous to ask Catrin to do so.

    Alison on #62006

    Well I have met Catrin several times, she’s pragmatic so I doubt she’d take offence… and BTW what you call architect’s tape is probably our “masking” tape.

    patricia-jaeger on #62007

    Alison, in artist supply stores, at least here in the USA on the west coast, I use Artist Tape (trademarked) because it is pure white, rather than masking tape that has a yellowish tint. It is so useful to attach a third page of a composition so that on your music stand you don’t have to turn any page to finish the composition. It is a handy 3/4 inches wide, and $8.00. per roll. It may be available online also.

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