Hand coordination

You’d think that independent hand coordination on the harp would be a breeze for a lifelong pianist. You’d be wrong. The right hand is turned completely around (high notes are on the thumb of all fingers!) and the process by which sound is produced is so touchy and requires such focus that hand independence completely goes out the window on the harp, even for me as a pianist. It’s frustrating, annoying, and humbling.

There is simply so much more to worry about on the harp; the whole concept of surface noise takes so much attention, with each note requiring at least double the process steps (place AND play rather than just play) that there is little left over to enable the brain to coordinate both hands independently.

I can manage it barely if I just work on basic chord progressions and improvise, but set songs — placing, coordinating, knowing where the strings are … it all just becomes too much.

I think I’m also not entirely sure what counts as “simple” harp music, either. On the piano, if the page isn’t completely black with ink, it’s pretty much easy. Not the case with the harp, though. It’s not at all the case that unless you are using ten fingers at once all the time, you aren’t really working that hard. I think that has distorted my judgment of what is possible on instruments other than the piano, even as a beginner. Well, that plus I completely can’t even remember what it was like learning piano nor how long it took me to develop technique.

Anyhow, I’m glad I have a head like a rock. I’m going to need it.


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