Debussy 1st Arabesque Bars 33-35

Posted In: Young Harpists

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    william-nichols on #165890


    Im learning the first Arabesque by Debussy from “Solos for the Harp Player” by Lucille Lawrence arranged by Salzedo. In bars 33-35 (just before you go into A-flat) when you are ascending I am having a lot of trouble with buzzing. I’m getting better with it by placing my fingers on all at once but is there another way to stop this buzzing?

    Thank you


    Gretchen Cover on #165891


    carl-swanson on #165892

    William- As you move into more advanced repertoire, you have to touch the strings less, not more. A technique that might work well here, and which you absolutely have to learn to go into harder pieces, is what I call placing in sequence. With this technique, you place just one note at a time ahead of the one you are playing, and you place it at the exact moment that the playing finger releases the string. So you never have more than two fingers on the strings at any one time. By placing the next finger at the exact moment that the previous finger releases the string, you camouflage any buzzing that may occur. With this technique, you also allow vibrating strings to vibrate as long as possible and to hide the muffle when you place back on that string. It’s important when you place to do it quickly and not slowly approach the string, which will make more noise. A piece like Faure’s Une Chatelaine en sa Tour… has to be played entirely like this.

    Gretchen Cover on #165893

    Will, check out Josh Layne’s episode of playing fast.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #165894

    You need speed in this piece, so I don’t think sequential placing will help as it might in other places. I don’t know which place that is, offhand, but in general, if you press your knuckles against the lower strings as you place, it will muffle any vibrations. In a pinch, you can straighten your knuckles instead, but curving them more is better.

    carl-swanson on #165895

    Saul- Once you learn the technique of sequential placing, it works at any speed and it is automatic. You don’t have to think about it or decide to do it here and not there. But you have to learn the technique well for that to happen. I usually find when I’m learning a new piece that I place in blocks at first but then, as I get to know the piece better, automatically change over to sequential placing.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #165896

    I do use it where placing would be buzzy, but I prefer placing, in general. I also using partial placing, where you would place the first two notes and as you play the first note, pivot and place the next two.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #165897

    How does it influence your phrasing, Carl?

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