This is my first post. Seems like a lovely community – I’ve learned a tremendous amount just from “lurking.”
I’m a self-taught lever harpist. I have advanced musical training on another instrument, but am really only interested in playing folk and early music on my harp (a Salvi Heather). I’m returning to the harp after a long hiatus and am very excited about it.
I have some questions about the concept of placing the fingers before playing. I understand how to do it, and do it religiously thanks to my Sylvia Woods book, but I’ve never seen anyone address the specific questions I have about it, which are as follows:
1) Is it okay sometimes NOT to place the fingers – I swear I see v. good harpists on youtube not placing at times. I myself find it easier not to at times, for instance when imitating a guitar finger picking style or for certain kinds of celtic ornamentation. There are times when placing just makes things sound and feel awkward.
2) Is there an absolute “right” way to place the fingers, or can two different harpists do it in two equally acceptable ways for the same piece of music?
3) I find it a challenge when written music doesn’t suggest which fingers to use…how do you simultaneously sightread and know how to place the fingers? (I’m a woodwind player!).
thanks for any help; I haven’t found anyone else asking these questions on the web, and can’t get to a teacher at the moment. I have a ton of other questions too, but I think I’ll start separate threads for them.