Playing fast (arpeggios)

Posted In: How To Play

  • Participant
    sage on #224796

    Hi all!

    I’m currently learning to play ‘Metamorphosis II’ by Philip Glass. It’s been going quite well so far, apart from the fact that I am unable to play the arpeggios at a sufficient speed. Going up (A,C,E,A) is going fine, but what slows me down is having to change direction rapidly and playing the downward arpeggio right after. I’m either too slow, or there is too much time in between replacing my fingers. I’ve been working on thtis for about a month now, from playing slow and fast to recording myself and using a metronome, but I just can’t seem to get it… Any tips?

    Tacye on #224798

    You have been playing the harp two months now? That speed is not easy on the harp and needs decent technique. I expect it will take you several months to a year to get there, ideally with the help of a teacher.

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #224804

    Try this. When you’re turning around at the top, replace the second and third fingers simultaneously just before you play the thumb. Your fourth finger places itself immediately afterwards, just a nanosecond after the other two fingers. I know that this is not standard technique, but it works for me.I tried putting all the fingers on at once, and it not only slowed me down, but sounded choppy. It could be a different story if your hands are bigger.

    carl-swanson on #224809

    Elizabeth-What do you mean, it’s not standard technique? In French method, that is the standard way of placing at the advanced level. I call it placing in sequence, and it means placing only one or possibly two fingers at a time ahead of the note you are playing. Placing in blocks of 4 fingers at a time is necessary for lower level students, and also for anyone at any level just beginning to learn a piece. But then, as you get more comfortable with the piece, you change over to placing in sequence, i.e., one note at a time ahead of the note you are playing. This type of placing avoids or minimizes buzzes, and avoids muffling strings that were just played. It’s an advanced technique and requires great accuracy and precision.

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