Harp Column’s 30 Day Practice Challenge returns on January 1, and this year we challenge you to DREAM BIG! Need ideas? Scroll down for our recommendations of BIG pieces to download now!
BIG classics for pedal harp
Claude Debussy, arr. Elzbieta Szmyt
Elzbieta Szmyt’s transcription of Debussy’s “Clair de lune” comes fully marked with pedals and fingering, in a clear, easy-to-read edition. Let go and float away with this enchanting classic.
Claude Debussy, arr. Maria Luisa Rayan
Another masterpiece by Debussy has been skillfully adapted for harp by Maria Luisa Rayan. This four-movement work is sure to keep you busy throughout the 30 Day Practice Challenge!
Maurice Ravel, arr. Ariadna Demkov
“With his impressionistic style, Ravel captures a sense of dreamy nostalgia in the music,” Ariadna Demkov says. This elegant harp transcription retains the original music’s solemn elegance. Feast your ears on rich harmonies at every moment and cherish the exquisite melody as it drifts past.
Giovanni Batista Pescetti, arr. Isabelle Perrin
This staple of harp repertoire appears here in a beautiful new edition by master harpist Isabelle Perrin. Once it’s in your hands, the stunning “presto” final movement is thrilling to play!
Michail Glinka, arr. Angela Klohn
Intimate and melodic—Glinka’s “The Lark,” originally for piano, has been “stolen” by harpists for generations! In this arrangement, Angela Klöhn has simplified the original music to be more harpistic, using a delicate right hand melody ringing above moving arpeggios to create a beautiful, ethereal sound.
Claude Debussy, arr. Oliver Wass
If you’re feeling up for a real challenge, Oliver Wass has arranged Ravel’s seminal solo piano work “Jeux d’eau” for solo pedal harp. This music may dazzle and delight your ears, but prepare to move your feet!
BIG classics for lever harp
G.F. Handel, arr. Haley Hodson
Haley Hodson presents her simplified arrangement of Handel’s Passacaglia in three different versions, including versions for lever harp tuned in C and lever harp tuned in E-flat. The opening dotted rhythms present a great opportunity for honing in on consistent rhythmic integrity, and each brief variation provides a different technical challenge to overcome.
Marcel Grandjany, arr. Rhett Barnwell
This classic harp repertoire staple, originally for pedal harp and organ, has been skillfully simplified by Rhett Barnwell for solo lever or pedal harp. Barnwell has eliminated the arpeggiated middle section, keeping just the melody and complete cadenza, now playable on lever harp. Calming and timeless.
Gustav Holst, arr. Kim Robertson
Gustav Holst’s “I Vow to Thee,” appearing here arranged by Kim Robertson, is best known as the chorale featured at the end of “Jupiter” from Holst’s famous suite for orchestra, The Planets. Deeply moving, this solemn yet emotional melody will gratify your ears and your heart as you practice.
J.S. Bach, arr. Ailie Robertson
Ailie Robertson has beautifully transcribed the “Allemande” from J.S. Bach’s Suite for Lute (BWV 995) for solo lever harp. Dramatic but understated, the plaintive melody proceeds as if burdened by age-old weight, transporting listeners to a bygone era.
Johann Strauss, arr. Meinir Heulyn
Johann Strauss’s The Blue Danube Waltz has long delighted audiences. Meinir Heulyn’s charming lever harp arrangement of the old favorite will reward and entertain you.
BIG original solos
(Titles marked with an * are playable on lever harp.)
by Fabio Rizza
This original work by Fabio Rizza can be played on lever or pedal harp. Inspired by a Mediterranean folk genre from the south of Italy, this catchy piece will make you wish you could dance while playing!
by Marianne Gubri
Marianne Gubri’s “Believe” inspires and calms. Two-hand arpeggios permeate the piece, imbuing the music with a dreamy, enchanting feel. This music could very well serve as a blissful soundtrack to your dreams!
by Lauren Scott
Uniquely, Lauren Scott wrote “Elegy” specifically for lever harp solo, employing techniques which are non-adaptable to pedal harp. The motif of this piece is based on “an insistent recurring vibrato note, reminiscent of an ululation,” says Scott. “Many cultures use this haunting sound to express sorrow, emotion and reverence.” (Check out Lauren’s blog for an in depth tutorial on how to execute the techniques in this piece.)
by Evan Henry
This 20-minute, eight-movement work for solo lever (or lap) harp by Evan Henry will help you begin your year centered and reflective. “The title refers to my own meditations on musicality—about the ways in which seemingly simple ideas can have powerful, and sometimes even therapeutic, effects,” says the composer.
by Benjamin Sigerson
Benjamin Sigerson’s Sketches from a Hanging Valley is a suite of minimalistic and meditative pieces for solo pedal harp. Influenced by Gaelic and Jazz harmonies, the collection of four pieces was inspired by time spent in the Canadian Rockies, and invokes its quiet and open nature.
by Andy Scott
Andy Scott’s original pedal harp solo “Crossing Waves,” celebrates the exploits of Roz Savage, who rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 2005. “Her determination, single-mindedness, creativeness, intuition and decisiveness are also the hallmarks of many musicians,” says the composer. What better inspiration to start the new year?
BIG pop and jazz solos
(Titles marked with an * are playable on lever harp.)
by Park Stickney
Not for the faint of heart, Park Stickney’s original solo “Lever Mania” presents a formidable challenge with what the composer describes as “non-stop chromatic mayhem.” Chromatic scales, lever slides, and an optional improv section complete this fun piece!
Trad., arr. Kim Robertson
Kim Robertson’s enchanting arrangement of the well-known American folk song “Shenandoah” features a haunting harmonic pattern that recurs throughout the piece. Robertson contributes great depth of feeling to the tender elegance of the original, arriving at a level of profundity that will take your breath away.
Burt Bacharach, arr. Michelle Whitston Stone
Michelle Whitson Stone’s arrangement of “What The Word Needs Now is Love” can be played on lever or pedal harp, and can be purchased in an advanced or intermediate version. This popular jazzy waltz made famous by Burt Bacharach will start your year off right! If this piece isn’t quite your thing, check out Whitson Stone’s many other classic pop music arrangements.
Karl Suessdorf, arr. Riza Printup
The influence of jazz greats Ahmad Jamal and Thelonious Monk can be heard throughout Riza Printup’s arrangement of the jazz standard classic “Moonlight In Vermont.” Marked “tender yet sultry,” this substantial arrangement will soothe you as you work.
by Deborah Henson-Conant
Deborah Henson-Conant’s “New Blues,” for pedal or lever (in C or E-flat) harp, is a fun, bluesy theme-and-variations. Lively and rhythmically challenging, this music asks you to inject your own personality and play with plenty of attitude!