Pozzoli, Ortiz, and the First Arabesque

So my teacher asked me to pick up a couple collections by Ortiz, the Pozzoli studi medie, and started me on Salzedo’s arrangement of the First Arabesque. I sort of blew out his fingering in places, but he’s dead so he’s not going to complain. 🙂

I feel like I might be turning into a real harp student.

I also figured out a kind of inchworming technique in the very beginning of the Arabesque that makes it easier to play without buzzing, where instead of placing in one direction and then in the other, I replace the fingers on the correct strings as I go down. This isn’t something I’d do if I were moving quickly, but it’s a slow piece, so I’m okay and it feels comfy and buzzless.

The issue is that it comes and goes, and that out of the first nine measures that my teacher has asked me to work on, my brain has trouble stitching them together into one continuous bit. There’s the first bit, which involves avoiding buzzing and making some reaches, and there’s the second bit, which involves:

  1. Counting 3 against 2, which isn’t really that bad,
  2. Blowing Salzedo’s fingering out in the left hand because he does several things that make absolutely no sense there, and
  3. keeping my right hand from climbing the harp.

I should add that his right-hand fingering in that section makes much more sense, but that I had to derive it on my own. The left hand, though? No sense at all, and the best way to do it is to use mostly 1 and 2 in the Eb section, and then 1-3-2-1 in the Cm section.

It’s fun — but it’s a lot to keep conscious of, and still think musically. And it’s also occurred to me that part of the problem is that I hear the stupid thing in 6/8, at least the very beginning. It’s in 4/4. Only my weird triplet-loving noodle could possibly parse a 4/4 piece as 6/8. I could parse a Sousa march in 6/8.

In other words, I’m enjoying myself. 🙂

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