texts on harp orchestration for composers.

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    Hi all,

    What texts would you recommend for composers wanting to write for harp?

    I always recommend the Stanley Chaloupka book, “Harp Scoring” as it is so very practical, and I like


    Beatrice Schroeder-Rose, “The Harp in the Orchestra.”


    Thanks for that Rosalind – I hadn’t thought of the Bea Rose book, but its an excellent idea, as there are so many examples of how to edit parts – that should give composers info on how to write effectively in the first place.

    I also have an edition of the Ma ayani Toccata that has both the original and Lucile Lawrence’s version and have found work was useful in


    I have started on such a project, but it will be a long time in finishing it. I haven’t seen anything I would really recommend. I think composers should start with Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy and perhaps Puccini; and make sure of what they know will work, and start from there. Most orchestration books give bad examples it seems, like in Walter Piston’s, every example is an exception, like Stravinsky’s Orpheus, and not a good example of writing for the harp. But even in Tchaikovsky and Debussy there are errors of judgement. I think Rimsky did the best overall, and has many pages of wonderful writing. Ravel, also, took some chances and made some errors, as well as Strauss, so I think composers should be guided carefully through those scores. I think they should be required to take a full-semester course in writing for the harp only, as it would seem to require at least that much study. I might suggest they try writing parts for existing works such as Rite of Spring, which should have had harp and certainly could. There’s nothing like walking in another composer’s shoes.

    David Ice

    Hi Rosalind,


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