Schools of Thought in Harp Technique?

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    I am a final year music college student studying the pedal harp. For

    my dissertation I am setting up a private teaching practice, which

    includes designing a curriculum for harp technique. I am currently

    identifying the aspects of technique that need to be taught to a

    beginner and the order in which these might be introduced. Whilst I

    am happy with my own technique (or at least with what I am working

    towards) I would like to be more aware of different styles of

    technique – to inform my own, if necessary, or to understand any

    students who I teach which have been already been taught using a

    different style. I have not had many different teachers or met many

    other harpists so I am not aware of different techniques, but I get

    the drift that there are different schools of thought – Salzedo, and

    maybe French…Would someone summarise them for me so that I know

    how to direct my research? Any general guidance or hints would be

    very much appreciated.I am still sifting through the questions and

    answers already submitted on this forum, so I realise my question

    may have already been partly answered.

    Many thanks,

    Hannah Cannell


    Is that the sound of a bomb going off that I hear???!!!


    TOO LATE!!!Exercises, etudes are not the only choices, as we already discussed in another thread. Both can be drawn from repertoire exclusively. However, I support the use of both as well. And the biggest question is, how do you get students to actually sign up and pay? How typical of a college to think you can simply work up a plan and implement it. Good luck with your endeavor.


    Surely one of the strengths of individual (or small group) tuition is the ability of the teacher to respond to the students and not push different people through the same method book or curriculum?


    There is a long discussion about the differences between Salzedo and Grandjany

    techniques somewhere else in the Discussion Groups. Have fun reading through the

    tremendous number of opinions!


    The (heated) discussions are about differences between the Salzedo and


    Thankyou for your help – I did not realise that this subject was quite so sensitive! Obviously I have been somewhat sheltered from this debate up til now. I do not think I will try to categorise my technique for my students, as I think I have probably benefitted from not subscribing to one type of technique or the other but simply following my teacher’s advice and striving for a technique that produces the best tone – although as a teacher, I would like to be well informed, in case questions arise. I am also aware that there may be technical ideas that which I could adopt – whichever school of thought they come from. This is why I am doing my research! I have obtained a copy of the Salzedo/Lawrence tutor book to educate myself – and the brand new ‘The Book of the Harp’ (great read) to help me understand the different schools of thought in harp technique.

    Thankyou for setting me out on the right foot.


    Don’t overlook Renie’s Method for the Harp.


    Of course, we all know that Salzedo was himself FRENCH and trained by the same teacher, Alphonse Hasselmans, and taught FRENCH technique, albeit with his improvements. Just because he lived in America doesn’t make him any less French than Monsieur Grandjany, does it? It’s just kind of funny how he is made to sound outcast from dear old France. Salzedo was the only harpist to win premier prix on the same day in harp and piano. Bernard Zighera won both but in different years. Having seen a brief clip of Salzedo playing, I don’t think anyone could or ever will play as fast as he could. I believe the difference between Grandjany technique and French technique is whether or not your knuckles curve in or out.



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