Hm. Not sure about those “50 Carols.”

They’re nice, but they’re all in G Major, and … I have a feeling that I’m going to do what I always do and end up just making my own arrangements.

I recall this book of Christmas carols from around the world all during my childhood, and happily I still have it:

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My copy is clearly somewhat knocked around, but one can purchase a new one if one is so inclined. It is a nice collection of all kinds of Christmas carols together with some text about customs in various areas. I played easy carols from it as a child at the piano:

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They could be very handily adapted for the harp, and at least they aren’t all in the same key. *mull mull*

I should work up “What Child is This?” actually — “Greensleeves” is apparently like “Für Elise” for the harp, and if anyone knows you play, that’s the first request you get. The problem is, I can’t stand it without that one sharp, which is a pain on a lever harp. We’ll see if I can work it in somehow.

“The Angels and the Shepherds” from Sylvia Woods 50 Carols

There’s one annoying part where it’s hard not to buzz, and a few places where she’s requested a 4th finger where I can reach almost trivially with 3 or even 2, but I’m using the 4th, trusting that she’s required it to force people to get used to using the nasty little thing.

It’s a lot of fun. I’ll be letting this one soak in for a bit, then go back and make sure that “Vaga Luna” hasn’t unravelled too badly since starting on a new piece, then make sure that both are in good fettle before moving onto the next carol.

I also want to make sure that I keep track of the various little lessons learned from each, so that I’m not reinventing the wheel every time I have a new piece to work on.

“Vaga Luna” — first victory :-)

Vaga Luna (simplified version) — arranged by me, brackets aren’t marked. Basically if you can place an outer finger, then do so.

Lever changes: Take measure 12 w/LH. Take measure 14 w/RH.

So, I’ve managed a greatly simplified version of it, and I’m very happy with it. My fingertips don’t hurt so much anymore, and yet I don’t feel calluses on them; they’ve simply stopped tingling/hurting noticeably.

I’ve begun to work my way through the simplified arrangements of Christmas carols from Sylvia Woods book 50 Christmas Carols for All Harps. After I can play them to my satisfaction, I’d like to start some exercises, songs, or pieces that will enable me to manage a more complex left hand part. The arrangement of “Vaga Luna” that I did has two measures where there are a few things happening in the left hand that require some attention, but overall, it’s been one whole note per measure so I can focus on other things like proper hand position, good tone, and keeping my thumbs up — as well as what I’ve dubbed the Fatal Half-Shift in Time. 🙂

Coping with that fatal half-shift though has forced me to almost “play” my placing, to put my fingers on the strings firmly and in time with the music as well as plucking them in time. This has been a real godsend in terms of avoiding buzzing, so I guess forcing myself to come to terms with the difference in timing between piano and harp comes with some benefits.