Guitar Chords on the harp.

Posted In: Young Harpists

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    unknown-user on #167343

    Hey all,

    Just wondering if anyone out there has any experience in playing
    guitar chords on the harp? My worship leader at my church wants me to
    play with him, my sister, and my friend Thomas, but he only has guitar
    chords. I went to practice a few hours ago, and I just played them as
    arpeggios. Any advice? Comments? How about using other methods of
    playing, besides arpeggios?
    Thanks, and happy harping,

    tony-morosco on #167344

    You can do it anyway you like. Chords are Chords. You can either do as you said and just play them as arpeggios. Or you can simply play them as block chords.

    A common accompaniment technique is to play the chord as a block chord with the right hand, and play the root of the cord with the left.

    Of course if the same chord repeats over and over you can play inversions of the chord and the accompanying root note in the left. This gives a nice variation in the sound, and produces a moving bass line.

    Also, instead of just playing arpeggios you can use the notes from the chord to play patterns. Listen to the pattern the guitarist plays and see if you can imitate it, or better yet create a secondary pattern to compliment it.

    I highly suggest finding a good book on music theory and accompaniment. There are many, many good books on the subject. Sylvia Woods’ Music Theory and Arranging Techniques for the Folk Harp is an excellent place to begin. She gives some very nice accompanying patterns that will work for many kinds of music, as well as enough foundational music theory to allow you to create your own.

    Evangeline Williams on #167345

    I actually prefer playing this way.

    unknown-user on #167346

    Here is the response from a guitarist of over 20 years on a worship team that has a son who plays harp. What you or any other instrument plays is entirely dependant on what combination of instruments are playing and what your role among those instruments is to be. The problem with the harp (and piano as well) is that the instrument includes such a wide range of notes. If you have a bass player, your low notes will be stepping all over what he is doing. The middle of the instrument is all in the vocalist’s and guitar’s range. You can add many fills in the upper range, but if you have a flute, you may be in trouble there. In the worship setting, it is key to remember to do only that which serves the congregation to enhance their worship experience. We follow the addage: “Less is more.” Concentrate playing as little as possible, but make what you play count. That goes for everyone else.

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