Notes from the arranger
This arrangement of the classic Baroque piece, originally written for harpsichord, is best suited for advanced lever harpists at or around RCM Grade 9 Level. While this piece is playable on pedal harp, there are no pedal markings included.
My arrangement of The Harmonious Blacksmith is based on Dominig Bouchard’s arrangement, found in Pièces Classiques Book 6, but Bouchard’s arrangement is similar to an arrangement for a keyboard instrument and includes poor placement of lever changes. This led to an original arrangement by myself which includes better placement of lever changes as well as addition of dynamic markings, while still maintaining the note structure and harmony that Bouchard put down. As noted on the sheet music, the crossed-out noteheads indicate lever changes. In measures that require lever changes while the right hand is playing, the lever change is indicated in print underneath the right hand passage (as in measures 30-31).
This piece was originally written by Handel in 1720 as part of his Suite no. 5 in E major for harpsichord. As the legend goes, Handel was walking by a blacksmith shop when he heard a tune being sung by the blacksmith. He liked the tune very much, and it became the basis for the theme and variations in this piece. Of course, this story is merely legend, but it gives nice imagery when playing the piece!
The repetition of the note B (most noticeable in Variation 1) is said to evoke the sound of the blacksmith’s hammer hitting the anvil.
In arranging this piece for lever harp, I hope that more Level 9 harp students are inspired to play it, and that they can play it from an easily-readable, modern arrangement.