Pianistic harp

I can’t tell, but I wonder if I’m playing harp like a pianist — lots of flat chords and just a generally pianistic sound. I know that a lot of harpists apparently come to the instrument via piano, and I wonder if that block chord aesthetic won’t become part of the harp. I do seem to like it, and I have little appetite for glissandi on the harp, but at the same time I love the over-the-top schmaltziness of the harp. All the stuff that’s considered bad taste in the piano is obligatory on the harp. I love that.



Three things. There were three things I wanted to work on between lessons, and I can only remember two: flat chord exercises, thumb control exercises, and … AGH. One more. They were three things related to the Haendel arrangement, and I am totally blanking on the last one.

Tarting up Rachmaninoff

He’s not the kind of person you’d associate with barfly-red lipstick and false eyelashes, but I had to fancy up my version of “Zdes’ Khorosho.” I don’t think I overdid it only because my technique wouldn’t allow me to go too far.

So now, I’m trying to connect a bit more with “Vocalise,” which is pretty but can start to feel like it’s wandering after a while. He’s also got one called “Do You Remember This Evening?” that’s very nice, but I can’t track down the sheet music for it. I know his stuff is right on the edge of what’s PD and what’s not, so it might not be PD.

I figure if I can do “Zdes’ Khorosho,” the “Vocalise,” and three more songs for voice and piano, I will have a nice little collection that may be suitable for publication, although I want to make sure that it’s got all the information in it that a harpist is expecting to find: pedaling notes if needed, notes about how to play the harmonics (where written, even if doing that turns sheet music into tab and hence is philosophically offensive to me), and anything else that a typical harpist expects to see in their sheet music. I’m so glad my teacher agreed to keep me on as a student, because I definitely need the discipline of preparing things for someone on a deadline, and I absolutely need her expertise on how to get a publication out into the world.

Tuning discussions

The third rail of Internet music.

Look, all of Western music is predicated on the fact that the circle of fifths closes.

It doesn’t.

Get over it, people. Western music is an approximation right down to its very foundations. Live with it, or stop playing music and start playing soccer or doing needlepoint or something, okay?

If you are in Western music, you are living in a mathematical approximation dealt with differently by every instrument. Stop whining and just make the damned best of it. If you can’t being yourself to shut up about it, either find another hobby or another way to make a living.


I’d still like to do this at some point, but after bumbling around with the first few measures — and I saw this coming, because I love to play it on the piano — I had to confront the fact that every measure will be its own little pedaling project. We’re back to five fingers on each hand, only two of the fingers are at the ends of our legs.

It’ll be a while before this gets off the ground, though. And I’m not sure how much arranging it will take, really. It may be pretty harp-friendly as arranged for the piano by the composer already.

I do get the feeling though that it will be the sort of thing where I’ll be happy not to use that 3-4 combination that vexes me, but I’ll also be happy that I can reach an 11th in one hand as a flat chord. Grieg’s piano work has a lot of that sort of thing in it.

Eventually. For now though, I’m happily wallowing in Haendel’s universe. 🙂