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Harp lesson

2016-09-23 18:06:15 Clicks:

Sitting with and holding the harp

Sit at the harp correctly. Sit in a comfortable, solid chair that is the correct height for your harp. You need to be able to easily play the middle of the harp-strings. You will need the shortest strings closest to your body and the longer strings will be further away from you.

1.If you have a lap-harp, you may have to rest its base on a box in front of you.

 

2.Tilt the body of the harp between your legs and lean the harp onto your right shoulder. It shouldn't feel too heavy if it is balanced correctly. The harp doesn't have to be straight in front of you; you can turn it sideways a bit so that you can see the strings. You should be seated so that your arms are a little below 90 degrees angle with your body, parallel with the floor and in the middle of the strings. At this point, your feet should rest on the floor.

 

3.Position your hands appropriately. Hand position is a much-debated area among harpers/harpists. Some instructors follow one technique and other instructors prefer other styles. There is no "one" technique that is right for all harpers and harpists. There are some similarities, however, such as relaxing the hands as often as possible, that are good common sense and will help prevent injuries. Most teachers also emphasize being sure to close the fingers and thumb into the palm after playing a note. This will help you get more sound out of your harp, as well as minimizing injury risk.

Tuning the harp

 

Tune your harp. If you have not acquired a strong ear for music, you can use an electric tuner. Using the tuning key that came with the harp, you can carefully tighten or loosen the strings to change the notes. This is an area where an experienced musician will be of great help to you.

If you have a pedal harp, you will be sure that all pedals are disengaged before tuning. Place each pedal in the flat key, which is the top notch.

If you have a lever harp, be sure all levers are disengaged. With your lever harp, you will probably first tune to the key of C Major. That is, A strings will be As, the B strings will be Bs, Cs will be Cs, etc. Later you can tune your lever harp with some notes flat to make it easier to play songs in other keys.

Learning to play

 

Engage a harp teacher if at all possible. You may also purchase a self-teaching method, although this is not a complete teacher replacement. In looking for a teacher, try to find one who respects the style of music that you wish to play, and who can teach you the appropriate technique for your style of harp.


Take a look at the strings. They are like the keys on a piano: A,B,C,D,E,F,G repeated over and over again. The red strings are Cs, the black or blue strings are Fs. If you can already play the piano, the strings will come more naturally to you and you will most likely get used to the strings much faster than non-piano players.


Most lever harps and pedal harps are played with the soft part- sides or tips- of your thumb and first three fingers (the little finger is too small and weak to pluck with.) When playing a lever or pedal harp, fingernails must be kept short. Wire-strung harps and certain advanced techniques for other harps are played with the finger nails.


On pedal harps, all pedals in the middle position is C major. Raising a pedal will drop the note to a flat and lowering the pedal will raise the note to a sharp.

 

On a lever harp, raising the sharping lever will raise the note a half-step. If the string was tuned to a flat, then raising the lever will raise the note to a natural. If the string was natural, then raising the lever will make the note a sharp.

The E, A and B levers should always be up. Everything else should be lowered, unless a piece requires a C#, etc.

 

Now, with your right hand hold out your first finger. Place it on the harp strings as far as you can reach and pull it quickly toward you so that it slides and makes each string ring out. Be careful not to let your knuckles collapse as you do this, as that will decrease the sound quality.

 

Congratulations! You've just done your first harp glissando!

Keep learning the basics thoroughly, then branch out and develop your skill range. For example, do not try doing complicated glissandos ('glisses') until you have mastered the basics. And remember to develop hand positioning too, two fingers, then three, then four. Do not try to master harmonics until you have reached a higher level. Take it gradually and the more advanced learning will become easier if you've mastered the fundamentals fully.

 

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Play-the-Harp