Placing before playing in time and firmly

I will run into problems in the future if I take this to extremes. I can see how the left hand may move quickly enough to make this impossible. (It also turns a whole note into a dotted half if I’m not careful, which can sound strange.)

Nevertheless, it’s significant that playing a note on the harp takes two distinct actions — placing and plucking. There’s twice as much “mental load” on the harp as on the piano, which is why the music written for the piano is so brutally difficult. The easier it is to get a sound out of the thing, the harder the music written for it. Aigh.

It’s not to say that the piano has no pre-placing at all. On all instruments, the hand begins to move toward the next notes before the last ones have finished. Every activity does that. The brain anticipates as a matter of course. Athletes grab a ball in motion while they are turning to pass it along. The tongue pronounces one letter while on its way to pronounce the next, which is why the “n” in the middle of the phrase “ten bagels” when said quickly, often morphs into an “m.”

But the harp seems to require significantly more precision in pre-placing attention than the piano, in all cases and not just the hardest. Again, on the piano, the release is insignificant and irrelevant in many ways, especially if the pedal is down.


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