I’ve been waiting for weeks for the music for a cantata a local church asked me to play.
You have my sympathy, David. Not recently (I’m smart enough not to take these gigs now), but a similar occurrence a few years back. Day before performance the harpist backed out (she actually was ill) and suggested me. I expressed my dubious feelings to the music director, who said, “Oh, it’s basically just doing what the piano does.”
“Fine,” thought I. Although I’m a lousy sight reader I can double the piano and maybe think up an ornament here or there. It was one of those dress followed by dinner break followed by concert situations.
I get there, and what she had actually meant by “doing what the piano does” was that there is NO piano part at all and the harp has to carry the entire ensemble for all 169 pages of the score, most of which is fast running patterns at tempi like Presto, allegro molto, etc.
Afterwards, she said, “Well, Dorothy Remsen didn’t have any trouble with it.” Duh!
Maybe you need to start adding a clause for original compositions where there is an extra fee if you need to rewrite the harp part, to be determined at your sole discretion.
And you get original compositions with at least X days to review or you reserve the right to cancel and keep the deposit. Make them initial that one.
And, and you own rights to any parts you write.
I missed my calling as an agent.
Oh WOW….You have my sympathies….I’m glad harp is more of a hobby than a profession for me, that kind of pressure is way more than I could handle. Do they think you are a guitarist that can just somehow accompany by playing chords? Your frustration is more than well-founded. If any good can be had of this on your end, view it as a valuable lesson learned. Wishing you a quick end to your musical misery….
I think this was a trick on the composer’s part as he has gotten you to do the lion’s share of the work (which he lacked the expertise to do) for him. He’ll probably publish it as you’ve rearranged it with no further changes.
“You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.”
This problem comes up so often that I think all harpists should include a “TRANSCRIPTION FEE” in their rates when a situation like this comes up. The composer of course will look at you like you have two heads and ask why a transcription fee. It was after all written for the harp. Your answer is that it was not written for the harp. It was written for a keyboard instrument, and you have to transcribe it for harp and therefore the fee of say $25 per hour of labor.
Nothing really to add to the excellent comments and advice by the others. Only wanted to lend my sympathies to you. You, nor any harpist, should not have to deal with this kind of stress and pressure. Your job is hard enough, you don’t need to be doing someone else’s work on top of it.
I’m just sorry you are in this position and my best wishes go to you that you will find a satisfactory solution to this situation. It just makes me feel bad to read about situations like this.
I’m telling you,
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