Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    armande-fryatt on #159430

    Hi everyone

    I am hoping someone can help me play harmonics! I have really tried, but just cannot get a harmonic right first time. I’ve got several pieces where I cannot go any further as the harmonics are up next. It’s another 2 weeks before my next lesson.

    tony-morosco on #159431

    Without seeing what you are doing it is

    Fairy Reel on #159432


    If you are still having trouble, you can try marking the harmonic spot on the string with white-out. I’ve met harpists who have been playing for years who still use this for hard-to-hit harmonics.

    Good luck!

    carl-swanson on #159433

    One of the harpists who did this regularly was Grandjany. Sam Milligan told me this.

    Isn’t your teacher helping you with this problem?

    patricia-jaeger on #159434

    Armande, whether making harmonics with either left or right hand, make sure you are pressing really hard

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #159435

    Do not use white-out, it will ruin your strings. It just takes time to get them. There are no shortcuts to playing well. If Mr. Grandjany used something, it was long before white-out was invented, perhaps white grease pencil.

    unknown-user on #159436

    When Zabaleta played with the San Antonio Symphony, I got a chance to take an up close look at his harp – the old brown Obermeyer with the 8th pedal –

    Sid Humphreys on #159437

    I do that with a Sharpie, it stays longer… you only have to mark on the left side of the string, that way your eye can spot exactly where to go. Fir the strings where both hands play harmonics I mark the right hand with blue sharpie.

    carl-swanson on #159438

    Do you mark where you knuckle pushes against the string? Or where your finger tip plucks the string?

    Fearghal McCartan on #159439

    I mark where the thumbtip goes for either hand – that way you are sure of a solid support for the harmonic – rather than trying to find where exactly on the pad of the LH the mark is supposed to be. I have always used a normal permanent marker – fine tip, brown and even though a lot of the mark wears away through the thumbtip rubbing against it, the mark does remain in the winding of the gut strings.

    carl-swanson on #159440

    Sam Milligan told me that Grandjany would twirl the string between thumb and index finger as he was marking it with the other hand so that the mark was like a ring that completely encircled the string.

    Dwyn . on #159441

    Maybe these will help:

    How to Play the Harp : Right Hand Harp Harmonics for Beginners http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv0SKSWyv_A

    Audrey Nickel on #159442

    When you’re first learning (or when you’re getting a new harp), it can help to actually measure the string.

    Sid Humphreys on #159443

    It depends on where and how you place the mark Carl. If you make a mark all the way around the string then yes, some of it will come off on your thumb. The white strings are translucent so it works better to put the mark where the hands will not come in contact with them. It’s really only neccesary to mark somewhere around the left side of the harp though as you won’t be looking for the mark on the right side.

    Tacye on #159444

    This thread is reminding me of when I was learning and decided never to miss a harmonic again.

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