This may seem like a silly question but for the life of me I cannot remember how to do an open handed gliss! Could anyone let me know how you do it again?
A Very Tired Harpist
Hello, Phoebe! Do you mean ascending or descending? One note or multiples? When I do a one-note descending gliss, I keep my hand in a fist and use the thumb. For ascending, I use the 2nd finger with the other fingers in the palm and the thumb up. You could, alternately, leave the fingers open and pointing towards the column in an ascending gliss, or leave the hand open with the fingers pointing up in a descending gliss. Try all of the above and listen to the resulting sounds, and also notice how your hands feel.
The piece I am playing (it’s an orchestral piece by Randolph Peters) specifically says “rustling glissandi (open hand)”. It’s written as octaves in both hands but what is confusing is that the “fingernail” sign is used to mark the direction of the glissandos. It doesn’t say to use fingernails, however. Do you just do a normal gliss? Or do you think it might mean that I should use all my fingers?? Help!!! 😀
Ah! Aeolian rustling is described in Salzedo’s Modern Study of the Harp. “The hands, pressing the strings, are drawn slowly across them, fingers close together in the horizontal position. The notes indicate the (approximate) point of departure of each movement.”
If the nail symbol is above the gliss, it is the “falling-hail” effect. “By gliding in the centre of the strings, with the back of the fingernails; in descending, the palm of the hand inward; in ascending, the palm of the hand turned outward. This sonority is finest when played softly and rather slowly.”
Both these effects are on page 11.
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