Having a tough time with a particular pattern

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    A. Riley on #156103

    So I’m a beginning harpist (lessons since last fall) and having lots of fun with it — until *this* particular piece. It’s in Milligan’s Fun From the First, Vol. II, “In the Month of May.” It’s a pretty little music-box piece, and once I’ve got it, I’ll love it. The right hand includes some simple descending figures, and the left-hand accompaniment is mostly ascending broken chords in a very slightly different rhythm.

    Two hands heading in different directions at the same time — *that’s* the sticky wicket.

    Do you have any tips toward mastering this simple and essential technique? I’d be grateful for any suggestions from those who’ve been there & broken through to the other side. Thanks!

    kay-lister on #156104

    Hi “A”

    LOTS of practice hands apart!

    sherry-lenox on #156105

    Totally agree, Kay. I know the piece, A., and if you learn this slowly and thoroughly you’ll find it used again and again, and in the next variation it will seem less tough, and twenty pieces from now you’ll wonder why it seemed tough in the first place.

    As you said, it definitely is an essential technique, but no particular short cuts. That said, if you happen to know a little chord theory it helps a little to analyze the chords. If you go through the piece you will find repetitions, and finding that you are really only playing the same few patterns makes the task a little less daunting.

    tony-morosco on #156106

    It’s called Contrary Motion, and

    carl-swanson on #156107

    You might try practicing in very short segments, maybe a few beats at a time or at most a measure. Just try to get 2 or 3 beats to work well and comfortably. When you’ve gotten that, go to the next 2 or 3 beats and practice just that. When that is working well, connect the first and second segments together. Don’t start from the beginning of the piece each time. Just work on the 2 or 3 beats that you are trying to learn. Go through the rest of the piece practicing a few beats until it feels comfortable and then connect it to the previous stuff you learned.

    Sid Humphreys on #156108

    Yes Carl,

    A. Riley on #156109

    Thanks for all your help — I’ll do exactly what you’ve all described. Thank you so much!

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