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Gestures, Salzedo style

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  • #86479
    David Ice
    Participant

    Years ago I saw an 8mm home movie of Salzedo playing FLIGHT and I think INTROSPECTION, but I might be wrong about the titles.

    #86480

    “And as far as raising extending the actual duration of the sound, any first-year physics student would laugh that out of court.

    #86481
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Yes, I agree. I focused more on the biomechanics of playing and how this affects articulation and how you approach the string itself – and thought that this a more concrete aspect of raising that the detractors may be able to grasp. But, I agree that there is also an aspects of physics at work here. I have noticed in the last few years that when I used a particular type of raising that the overtones, vibrations, seem to alter. I assumed it was the way I attacked the string in the first place, and/or a natural aspect of the decay of the note – but I think not. As if I do not use that sort of raise, (once at the top of the raise, if that makes sense), it does not decay and vibrate the same way. It is a subtle difference, but it is there.

    I spoke to a couple of friends, brass players, about your post and they immediately agreed – they said “of course”. Sound is sound waves – and anything that moves in front of the waves will

    #86482
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    I think that there are many things that we think we hear that in fact are simply not there. I swear that silver coated wire strings sound clearer than the tarnish resistant, but my good friend Elenor Fell at Vanderbilt music company said that they have done endless ‘blind’ tests, with harpists listening to, but not able to see, wire strings being played by different harpists on different instruments, and no one can discern the difference. No one.

    I gave a workshop at the Boston conference in 1994 in which the audience had to make critical judgements about 4 harps behind a screen. They did not know that they were listening to four harps of different sizes,(a concert grand, a semi-grand, a straight soundboard semi-grand, and a small straight board instrument). When I gave a little quiz at the end of the sound tests, and asked them which harp was the concert grand, no one got it right. One of the harps was completely strung in nylon(the concert grand), and no one got that one either. So the things we think we hear are often based on our own subconscious judgements. But if something you do with your hands makes you think that the sound is better, then maybe it enhances your performance in other ways without you realizing it.

    #86483

    That is great information! I am so glad these experiments have been done! I think we must not be dogmatic. I raise when there’s time; so if there is a long pause, I would take up that time with a gesture that gets me from Point A to Point B in an efficient but esthetically pleasing way. I gesture more if I’m a soloist, and less if I’m in the orchestra, and not at all if I’m in the pit. As Carl points out in another post, we are entertainers as well as musicians, so when you’re the star of the show, it is important to look marvelous, because when you look marvelous, you feel marvelous (pace Billy Crystal).

    #86484

    A “blind test” does not necessarily prove anything. Who was listening? There is an obvious difference between silver and nickel strings. Maybe they were using old silver strings. They are far brighter sounding.

    As for physics, I remembered an example I heard from a physicist. When one object is divided in two and sent into an orbit, if something affects one object, the other object is also affected. I probably am not remembering it exactly, but it proves that there is a perceived delayed effect on objects in transit and it is possible to affect their transit after they have left. It’s like the difference between a pitch and a spitball. If you put a spin on the ball, it starts out straight and then curves its path. Also, regarding Salzedo, even if he himself played one way, it is what he taught that is more significant, because that was what he wanted others to do. I listened to the Angelaires recording, and the quality of their playing is magical, and on a much higher level than I anticipated or have heard in any other ensemble. They rehearsed all day for six weeks before touring, AND THEY PLAYED ALL OF THEIR TWENTY OR SO PARTS FROM MEMORY!!!! Isn’t that unbelievable? But they did it.

    #86485
    catherine-rogers
    Participant

    Carl, I think you’re right about those wires, because when I changed mine last time I had only a set of tarnish-resistant to put on, and I immediately heard a difference. Much prefer the silver ones, although I do like the colored Cs and Fs.

    #86486
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    I certainly agree that a follow through motion is important. We all do it in bringing the fingers, in a downward motion, into the palm of the hand as much as the music permits. Renie identifies three different articulations: a long(down into the palm), medium(basically half way towards the palm, and a short. They are all different degrees of the same motion and are used as the music dictates, meaning that the faster the music, the shorter the articulation. But even on a short articulation there is a follow through motion. In the French approach, the follow through motion is entirely in the fingers and the wrist, allowing the hands to remain close to the strings for efficient movement. My problem with the Salzedo school explanation of raising is that if, by your own definition, it affects sound, then that would lead to an inconsistancy in sound production, based on whether or not there is time to raise.

    #86487
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Cathy- If you use the silver ones with color coded C’s and F’s, then those color coded strings are nickel plated, and therefore would sound different. I think that the sound difference between silver and nickel is, first of all, very subtle, and secondly, may possibly only be evident when sitting at the harp, as opposed to being 10 feet or more out in front of it.

    #86488
    unknown-user
    Participant

    You only raise where it is musically appropriate to do so, and no this does not cause “unevenness” – it simply means that you have one more colour in your palette, and one more technical device, to choose from.

    Raising is just one aspect of Salzedo technique,

    #86489
    unknown-user
    Participant

    And the standard and quality of their teaching as well.

    #86490

    #86491
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Hi Laura,

    I’m sorry if I came across as disrespecful, it was not my intent. I just meant that you would do anything your teacher said, regardless of whether you understood it or it or not, to achieve what you could. It was not meant to disrespect anyone. I was just getting a bit exasperated, and finding it hard to be understood. So, used an extreme example of standing on ones head! But it was not meant to offend.

    #86492
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    ++Frequently it(the raising gesture) is used to release tension when playing especially fast and physically exhausting passages.++

    There was a workshop at a harp conference many years ago that was given by a physical therepist who was offering tips on relaxation and avoiding tension in playing. When he took questions and comments from the audience, one college age girl explained that in HER method of playing, she raises as a means of releasing tension. He explained quite calmly that raising does not and cannot release tension. “If you were going to release tension after leaving the strings,” he said,”your arms would drop to your sides.”

    #86493
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Well, I sure want a bit of what Yolanda Kondonassis has, and I would never place my opinion above hers.

    She dedicated a chapter in her “On Playing the Harp” to raising – and if anyone is interested it is on page 12 of the first edition chapter 7. Additionally, there

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