What's similar to Voltz, Barnwell, and Boddie?

Posted In: Repertoire

  • Participant
    Jodi Ann Tolman on #194525

    I’m looking to purchase some new music and I’m wanting to find some music similar to some songs by Frank Voltz (Peace Be With You), Rhett Barnwell (Angel Hymn and Lullaby), and Brook Boddie (Upon the Willows)–meaning calm, relaxing, beautiful music.  I’m at an intermediate level and while I’m interested in songs that I could more easily sight-read, I’m more interested in some songs that will push me a little and that I could take to my harp teacher to use as lesson material. (I play a 36 string lever harp.)

    For example, I can very easily play Rhett Barnwells “Angel Hymn”, but I’m now working on his “Lullaby” which is a good challenge for me.

    I can easily play Frank Voltz’s “Reflections” and just recently learned “Peace Be With You” which was a little bit more difficult, but not much.

    So I hope that gives you an idea of the level I’m looking at.

    I’d really like to find a book with several songs of this style if possible.  I’ve heard of Angi Bemiss but have never played any of her arrangements.  Would they be good for me?  What about her Music of Friends books? I’m also looking at these songs from her: “Dances with Wolves”, “Over the Rainbow”, “You Raise Me Up”, and many other titles interest me of hers.

    I’m also looking at some Meg Robinson music (“If Only” and “Fate”), but I’m wondering if these pieces would be too simple? It’s hard to tell from just a few sample lines. I still might buy them because they are beautiful, but I would like to find some pieces that I can take to my harp teacher and use for lessons that will push me a little bit.

    Other songs I’m considering that I’d love opinions about are: “The Nightingale” and “Essence of the Swan”, as well as any other ideas that might be good for me.


    Gretchen Cover on #194528

    Jodie,  I suggest you go to http://www.harpconnection.com or http://www.folkharp.com and see for yourself what you would like to learn.  These sites and others show the first page or more of the music.  You seem to know what you want as far as playing level is concerned.

    Addendum:  For the most part, I think a full sample page shows the difficulty of a piece.  A number of more advanced pieces will show more pages.  I am sure your teacher has suggestions to push a highly motivated student like you.

    Gretchen Cover on #194532

    Ok, here is are two good technique and nice to listen suggestions:  Ambiance by Frank Voltz and Abby’s Song also by Voltz.  I know you said other composers but these are two worthwhile pieces to learn and take some work to play well.

    Check out pieces by Barbara Semmann.

    Jodi Ann Tolman on #194534

    Thanks for these suggestions, Gretchen!  I’ll go take a look at them.  I like that it’s easy to find sound clips of Voltz’s music!

    I’ve spent hours looking at harp music at those two websites, and I have a long list of songs I might be interested in. I guess I just feel like it’s such a gamble to order some pieces that I can’t find recordings to on YouTube.  It’s just hard for me to trust my judgement of pieces with only seeing a few lines of the piece and not being able to hear it first.  I think I’m just a nervous music purchaser when I can’t tell exactly what I’m getting!  😉

    The other problem is that there are SO many pieces I’m potentially interested in, it’s hard to narrow them down since I can’t possibly buy ALL of them! 🙂  So it’s helpful to hear what’s popular with other people. Thanks for your suggestions!

    balfour-knight on #194684

    Hi, Jodi!

    I noticed the reference to “Essence of the Swan” in this thread, and I am replying to you since I am the arranger of that particular piece.  Angi Bemiss is a dear friend of mine, and I have done several arrangements for her over the years, in the books with my name listed along with hers.

    Angi has covered a vast territory of all types of music in her books and sheet music offerings.  They are mainly suitable for Intermediates, and most of the selections can be sight-read by harpists who play at this level.  The first arrangement I did of “The Swan” for her is considered difficult for the intermediate level, with many lever changes (Classical Selections, Book Two).  In response to a demand for a simpler, more playable version, I did the “Essence of the Swan” which can be played by late beginners or early intermediates.  Many of Angi’s loyal following are harp hobbyists playing mainly for their own enjoyment.

    I hope this helps to answer your questions.  If you go to Angi’s website, Simply the Harp, and have any questions, please feel free to ask her or me about any of the arrangements you may be interested in.  Then you will get it “straight from the horse’s mouth,” so to speak, ha, ha!

    Best regards and happy harping,


    Jodi Ann Tolman on #194686

    Thank you very much for your insights!  I actually ordered Essence of the Swan, Music of Friends Vol. 1 and a few other songs by Angi Bemiss today (Rachel’s Song, Sweet Dreams, Hymne, and You Raise Me Up).  It sounds like these arrangements might not be challenging enough for me to use for lesson material, but it sounds like I will very much enjoy playing them for fun!  I’m excited to try them out. Thanks!

    jennifer-buehler on #194767

    Hi Jodi!

    Have you tried any Joyce Rice?  Her pieces range a bit in difficulty but they have some fun harmonies and sometimes some rhythmic elements.



    Jodi Ann Tolman on #194768

    Hi Jennifer!

    I’m not familiar with Joyce Rice at all.  I’ll have to take a look at her music.  Thanks for the suggestion!

    balfour-knight on #194829

    Hi again, Jodi,

    In looking over the musical selections on Rhett Barnwell’s website, Seraphim Music, I see three more new pieces composed or arranged by Brook Boddie.  They are “Amazing Grace,” “Elegy,” and “Thanksgiving.”  Just thought I would let you know–I have all of them and Brook did a great job.  His arrangements are very playable on any kind of harp and are a joy to play.

    Best wishes,


    Gretchen Cover on #194830

    Jodi,  if you have not learned Little Fountain by Samuel Pratt, put that at the top of your list.  It’s a great show-off piece (also check the two threads about show-off pieces) and is fantastic for technique and finger strengthening/flexibility due to the downward arpeggios.

    Jodi Ann Tolman on #194833

    Thanks, Balfour.  I really enjoy Brook’s music.  I’ll have to check out those other pieces.

    Gretchen, I’ve heard talk of Little Fountain but I’ve never learned it.  I’ll have to go take a look at it.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    Sharone Stevenson on #196190

    Hi Jodi, I know you would find my music very suitable. Do  not be put off by the heading ‘Healing Harmony’, as it is music for anyone who wants to  play pieces that gives them an inner joy of playing the harp, and also for an audience to enjoy. There are pieces for Advanced Beginners to Intermediate. Please go to Harp Column Music and under Artists look for my name: Sharone Stevenson. Choose the pieces you want to play and simply do an instant PDF download and be playing the pieces within the next few minutes after printing it. The first piece I composed was on the same size harp that you have – ‘Angel of the Dawn’.

    Rachel on #197256

    The Nightingale is sweet, but might not be too challenging for you. For peaceful music, I really enjoy “The Dawning of the Day” collection by Laurie Rasmussen; she has a CD of the same name so you can hear samples. For more varied music, the suite “Blue Dream World” by Inge Frimout has some beautiful movements (and some that have more energy); perfect for lever harp at a more intermediate/advanced level. I also highly recommend Swan LK 243 by Catriona McKay (should be easy to listen to online): http://www.catrionamckay.co.uk/scores/the-swan-lk243.html


    Jodi Ann Tolman on #197257

    Thank you for the suggestions. These songs sound lovely!

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.