“proper” tunes to learn, suggestions…

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    Cheshire Cat on #157337

    Hi Guys,

    I’ve hit a snag buying a new lap harp- husband wont let me do so until I can play 3 good tunes, at least 3mins long…

    At the moment I only really know the right hand of …. Omnia’s Fairytale, Alfredo Ronaldo Ortiz’s “Habanera Gris” and learning songs like “drink to me only with thine eyes”, and “plantxy irwin”…. my left hand and I frequently have disagreements, which leads me to the situation i’m in now- knowing all these songs, but right hand only.

    I really want to buy a second hand ravenna i’ve seen, and worried that by the time I’ve learnt 3 songs it’ll be gone….

    Does anyone have any suggestions what would be fairly easy to learn to play??? ( i mostly learn by ear, but can read music a little too) I’ve been playing for 8 months.

    Also…..I dont suppose anyone has got the proper sheet music for Omnia’s Fairytale, i bought the CD as it has the music printed on it, but its only the right hand.. anyone got the blass clef too?

    Thanks everyone for your help.xxx

    Kate Hopkins on #157338

    wow. that is a bit of a request. I have been playing for just over a year with a teacher and while I can play for a hour or more…I don’t think any of the tunes I know are actually 3 minutes long unless I have added repeats in them!

    I read your post to my husband, who was equally doubtful when I began my harp journey….even he was shocked by the request. Perhaps focusing on the ability to play for nearly 10 minutes.

    Try Pamela Bruners “Play the Harp Beautifully” books, there are several short easy 2 handed peices that combined together would fill the 10 min need. The hands rarely play together, which is how I began, and it will help with the overall skills.

    What are you playing now?
    Do you have a teacher?

    stan-guy on #157339

    Hi —

    jessica-wolff on #157340

    I take it your husband holds the pursestrings? If not, I’d ignore him.

    shelby-m on #157341

    I have to say, I like Jessica’s advice!

    Cheshire Cat on #157342

    wow, thanks everyone!

    Awesome Kate… I’ve told him your comments and he agrees- play for 10mins and jobs done!

    tony-morosco on #157343

    My advice would be the same as Shelby’s. Forget the left hand arrangement for the accompaniment for now and just play the basic chords. Much easier.

    You can vary a bit by changing the octave in the right hand on the second go through.

    And later when you get better and do learn the full arrangement for the left hand you can combine them, playing once through with just the chords, and then a second time with the more complicated arrangement.

    I would recommend some of Sylvia Wood’s books of arrangement. All her arrangements include the chord notations, so you don’t have to figure the chords out. Plus some of her books of traditional and O’Carolan music have two arrangements, and easy and intermediate one. So you can learn all three variations, with just the chords, with the easy arrangement, and with the intermediate arrangement when you get a little more proficient, and then you play through each one with your playing getting more complex as you go. It makes for a very

    wil-weten on #157344

    I understand that you as the owner of the large and heavy Camac Melusine you are craving for a small and light lever harp.

    But please, do tell you, you don’t mean that you hate the version of “Katie Bairdie” on page 30 of from Alison Kinnaird’s (in my eyes great) method “The Small Harp: a Step by Step Tutor?” Simple as this tune may be, I think it is very effectively arranged and besides it helps to exercising beginner’s technique. For me, its beauty lies in its simplicity. I learnt it several year ago and it is still one of my favourites…
    Anyway, I like to play and study from several books at a time, as a lot of method books progress very fast, while I like to take my time and rather study several pieces of my own level then trying to play one difficult piece over and over again without ever getting the idea of being able to master it. Therefore I use several method books of about the same level next to each other, in other to have some variety of pieces to study.

    Kate Hopkins on #157345

    Well, if you have learned some of those simple etude style tunes in lessons…it is amazing how lovely you can make them sound by playing with repeats and moving them around on the harp. One of the very first tunes I learned,” Asian Garden” a very easy pentatonic arrangement, is still part of my repertoire, although played for several repeats, improvised variations and ranging in three octaves instead of the one it is written in. originally a 30 second peice, it now is a full 2 and a half minute melody.

    I also sympathize with your desire for a smaller and lighter harp. I started on a Lyon and Healy Troubadour…I love the sound now that I have adjusted the strings. The troubadour are prone to a sound quaility gap from the lowest gut/nylon to the first wire. I had Markwood create some custom wound Nylon to use instead of the original strings and it sounds amazing…enough that my teacher encouraged me to keep it for a while longer before thinking about a gut strung harp. I travel all year making gut strings a major concern with changing temps and humidities.

    This year I started a rent to own lease on a Camac Hermine to fill the slightly more portable harp need in my life. While not tons smaller, it is lighter and small enouhght to be easier then the full sized troub. It also has an amazing transport cover that is better suited to weekend festival traveling.

    I have looked at all of the harps you were considering. I feel like the zepher is too small and the tone to music box like for me, unless you are on a plane and it is carry on…

    The Bardic is a great little harp, especially if you like pedal tension, as it is very close. I found that the extra range of the 27 did me little help as the range did not help with any of the tunes I was playing.

    The dusty seems to be a solid little instrument. I actually considered it to fill my small harp need. I think there are so many around because at the price it is a perfect starter harp for a new student and so for the several that never continue…or the ones who move to larger or higher end harps…

    Between the bardic and the dusty, I think it is a matter of tension and lever preference. Both sound lovely. Both are well made, using similar cost effective methods.

    (My harp teacher is also a harp showroom for Harps International, so I have had the amazing pleasure to play MANY harps)

    Philippa mcauliffe on #157346

    I’m thinking several verses or variations on one theme might help you get to 10 mins

    Cheshire Cat on #157347

    Tony- I’ve just bought a new sylvia woods book, the O’carloyan, i’ve got her xmas one, and its very well arranged- i didn’t realise what those letters where at the top! thanks hon!

    deb-l on #157348

    you’ve had a lot of good suggestions already so you probably don’t need more but Cecile Corbel’s tunes from 12 easy pieces can be repeated to make them longer.

    Kate Hopkins on #157349

    Haha, I have played several etudes I didn’t care for. My teacher is always amused when I return to a lesson and have rewritten the last few notes of an etude because it didn’t sound ‘finished’. My musical background had only consisted of a month of piano lessons in my early childhood, so I had no idea why they sounded so odd to me. My teacher later explained that the pieces I was rewriting had not finished a series of chords…my being able to hear it entertained her.

    I am lucky that she never spends too much time on a piece I do not like. She will have me learn what it is trying to teach…but will look for another piece with the same information that I like to play.

    My hermine is a lighter tension then my troubadour, more of a folk tension. I chose it so I had something better to play the celtic pieces on. While you can play them on a pedal tension harp, they are never as easy for the detailed style and speed of the celtic melodies. The bardic has more tension, close to pedal. I had considered this harp for nearly a month, then I was asked to accompany my teacher to a harp event in Florida were she was bringing harps to display in her booth space. For 5 days we prepared nearly 20 harps for the trip. After tuning and playing SOOOOOO many harps, I really started to learn the differences in sound, volume, and tension. I spent

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