Oh Little Town of Bethlehem for lever harp

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Member
    Angela Biggs on #155627

    Hi there folks,

    This year I’m playing for a Christmas Mass at the church where I grew up. I have a couple of “major” pieces for Communion that are more difficult and/or impressive, and I’ll be playing several simple carols before Mass as well (Sylvia Woods arrangements, plus my own play-and-sing version of Oh Holy Night). The Music Director wants O Little Town of Bethlehem, but it’s not in the 50 Christmas Carols book — and it has accidentals. Do you know of a version of this piece for lever harp that is about the same difficulty as a Sylvia Woods easy version? A couple of easy lever flips are not out of the question, but I’m memorizing ALL of this, and I need to spend the bulk of my energy on the more difficult pieces. Which means I’d rather not come up with my own arrangement.

    Thanks!
    Angela

    Participant
    andy-b on #155628

    Hi, Angela:

    I have an arrangement I did of this, but it’s not as easy as SW, and the lever changes are many and tricky. If you’re interested, email me and I’ll scan it and send it to you.

    Cheers,

    Andy

    Participant
    sherry-lenox on #155629

    Was just thinking after seeing Andy’s post- there is a second melody for “O Little Town…..”

    If your Music Director is looking for the lyrics, you could play the alternate melody. Of course you’d have to play it for him if he weren’t familiar with it. I’ll do a search and see if I can find it.

    The problem with playing something very familiar is that it can wind up sounding very wrong if you’re not playing the chromatic notes your listeners expect to hear.

    Participant
    sherry-lenox on #155630

    OK- the alternate melody is Forest Green. If you google it you can hear it played on an organ. MUCH better for lever harp. If you have to play the more familiar melody, maybe you can get away with lots of octaves and not too many thirds, but it really is just not a good fit no. Matter what you do.

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #155631

    The very easiest version I know of is in the Marilyn Marzuki Christmas book, but it’s pretty basic, mostly just the melody.

    Member
    Angela Biggs on #155632

    Thanks for all the information, folks! Based on that, I think I’m just going to tell the Music Director that this one isn’t going to make it into the lineup. I had an absolutely horrible experience with a different church last Christmas – I’m keeping this year as simple and painless as possible, because I need a win! 🙂

    Member
    Angela Biggs on #155633

    That’s such a kind offer, Andy. Thank you. I’m going to let this one go – I think it would end up being the little bit that would break the whole performance. Thank you though. 🙂

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