How can I make fake books sound better on a harp?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    HBrock25 on #159231

    I’m an adult beginner harp player with no real prior experience with any other instrument or music theory. I like to occasionally play from fake books but I find the simple cord accompaniment somewhat boring and it often doesn’t reflect the harp well.

    holly-bowron-hainley on #159232

    Susan Z

    tony-morosco on #159233

    Indeed, you just need a little music theory. Some recommendations:

    Music Theory and Arranging Techniques for the Folk Harp by Sylvia Woods

    Cool Chords and Groovy Rhythms: Arranging for Lever Harp in Modern Styles by Verlene Shermer. I think this one is exactly what you are looking for.

    3’s A Chord by Ray Pool

    Clever Levers: Harmonic Exercises for Advanced Lever Harpists, also by Ray Pool. Not an easy one to grasp but it will make you very familiar with Chord progressions, Diatonic Seventh Chords, Harmonizing scales with a triad, and the basics of Lead Sheet playing (which is format of music in fake books).

    There are also books specifically on playing from fake books such as: How To Play From a Fake Book by Blake Neely. Although for keyboard a lot of the basic concepts are the same.

    Also any introductory book on Jazz Theory will deal with Chord Substitutions. Switching out chords is a fundamental aspect of Jazz.

    alice-freeman on #159234

    Another suggestion is to pick up Louise Trotter’s book “First Steps to Harp Improvisation.” It will give you a lot of good ideas for improving bass lines, has study pieces to work on and an accompanying CD.

    — Alice in windy Wyoming

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