Opinion on a harp part

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    Carlin on #217482

    Hi everyone, I need your help to look at a harp part of a new composition I have received. I have only looked at the first few bars and it is very challenging for me. Would you be so kind as to give it a look and tell me what you think? Is this playable?

    Thank you so much in advance, your help is greatly appreciated.

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    Gretchen Cover on #217488

    Yes, but it will take a lot of metronome work to get the timing accurate. Lots of signature changes. Orchestra is not my strong suit so I would want to review the conductor score to see where my part fits in. Also, there are strong breaks so if you get lost, you know where to re-enter. Mark those. Best to you on this difficult part – for me anyhow.

    Victoria on #217501

    The harpist in the video did not seem to play all the notes though, she seems to eliminate a lot (from roughly warching her hand gestures), sorry if I am mistaken.

    carl-swanson on #217585

    Yuk! What an awful looking part!! It will take a lot of work to rewrite this so that 1) the notes are spelled the way they have to be played on the harp, and 2) the notes are written showing which hand plays what. You should be paid for this. If whoever hired you squaks, tell them that you’re not charging them for practicing the piece, but rather for the necessary editing that the composer should have had done before the piece was published.

    Biagio on #217586

    Carl, I don’t often comment on this kind of topic, being very much a “folk music guy.” But boy oh boy – even I can see that score is Yuk. Great advice to charge for cleaning it up first!


    Sylvia on #217588

    I’d just tell them to play it on the piano. That’s what it’s written for.

    Gretchen Cover on #217597

    Personally, I think the music is awful. But as a harpist asked to play the harp part, my opinion doesn’t matter. My job is to play the harp with the orchestra and follow the conductor. The important thing is to make the harp part work so you can perform it. I recently played on very short notice, as in one runthrough, Theme from a Shaker Melody. There was no way I had time to learn to play both hands after the introduction so I played one line split hands. It had the same effect as playing the part as written. Carlin may have to go for just the important notes to make this work. She should discuss the part with the conductor, if necessary, and let the conductor know what she is changing in her part and why.

    Carlin on #217674

    Thank you so much for the help everyone. I needed opinions from more experienced harpists in order to talk to them, since I am an amateur so they probably won’t take it from me if I said this is an awful piece for the harp.

    Victoria, yes, I did notice that too. I guess the harpist in the video decided to edit the part and leave out most of it to make it work.

    Gretchen, thanks for the advice. I will discuss it with them and try to find the best solution, or maybe as Sylvia suggested, just ask a piano to play it 🙂

    Gretchen Cover on #217683

    Last free advice: Do not turn down the part. You might not be asked to play again. Doesn’t matter in this situation if you are an amateur or pro. You are the harpist selected for the part. Try to figure out what you can play – even if it is just a down beat or select passages. Listen to the video clip with a headset on and figure out as best you can where harp is important. Then set a meeting with the conductor to air your concerns and what you’ve figured out as a solution. I am sure this will work out. Please let everyone know what becomes of this. Hopefully, others will chime in about this dilemma.

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