Transcriptions of Italian folk harp melodies

I’ve been mulling this for a bit — I was able to pull some transcriptions of folk harp tunes from performances on YouTube. Now, these are folk music pieces, so I can make an argument that they are public domain, and that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with making the transcriptions available.

But, they were performed by a particular person (Daniela Ippolito), and while the tunes are public domain, her particular performance of them might not be (and probably isn’t).

I wish I knew what the rules were for this sort of thing. I’ve got about four little pieces (three tarantelle and one waltz) done, and I don’t know the protocol for sharing them.

I should actually just make my own arrangements of them, but Ippolito’s playing is pretty much the ideal for how they would be played to sound their best.

Oy. So I remain sharing only my own personal arrangements of existing pieces in the public domain. *sigh*

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Back to “Vaga Luna”

Just freshening that one up — sheet music is here.

I’m finding that one of the good things for practicing is to simply play as loud as possible, to get a sense of what the instrument is capable of. I don’t want to rip strings out, but I do want to know more about the dynamic range that I can get hold of. I also want to be able to play more than one piece at a time.

So we’ll see how this goes.

This is for “Zdes’ Khorosho.” I have no idea how doable this is yet — probably not at all for someone at my level. Lots of rolls in the right hand, which I’m not that good at. And I’ve managed to get rid of all but the most stubborn level flips, which should be manageable if not easy. It should be easier to do this for lever harp and soprano instrument; since the melody would be taken up by the flute, oboe, viola/in, voice, or whatever, that would give a harpist a little less to do and hence a little more elbow room.

Anyway, I will see what I can do with this over the weekend. When it comes to harp, my eyes are always bigger than my stomach technique. I’m playing it for the most part with mostly flat chords, but a good harpist would probably want to roll them to within an inch of their lives. This is late Romantic schmaltz, here.

“Bleak Midwinter” — avoiding a lever flip

In the Bleak Midwinter (no lever flip version)

Strictly speaking, the lever flip is not the hardest thing in the piece. There are far more irksome instances of crossing under and changes in fingering to accommodate the coda.

However, if one wanted to avoid that lever flip, one could still get the effect in the coda of going into the relative minor by just replacing the C#-A in the left hand with the third space E and the D below it. That will get the idea across.

You will probably want to muffle the low D at the start of the next measure, or else you risk buzzing against it while reaching for the E. On every other instrument in the world, you spend your entire life trying to make the right noises. On the harp, you spend your life trying to avoid making the wrong ones.

Anyhow, just one more instance of Music Theory to the Rescue, in this case by enabling the playing of what amounts to chromatically modulating music while sticking to a diatonic scale. 🙂

“In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Tu scendi dalle stelle”

Two others I’d like to try, especially the latter:

In the Bleak Midwinter: I’m curious as to whether or not the C# lever flip that permits a resolution into D minor near the end is even possible, but it’s a pretty little twist that I got from watching a video of Tine Thing Helseth playing it, and I’d like to try it. (This PDF has occasional stem oddities in it, but these are present to indicate where you might like to play a note with the other hand as opposed to the one you might think you should use.)

Tu scendi dalle stelle: I’d like to move this up an octave to avoid buzzing, but … I like it where it is. It’s a fairly simple left hand after all, and I can play it without buzzing if I’m just playing the left hand, so I don’t think there’s anything particularly buzzy about it. It’s just a matter of not being able to play it well enough quite yet. I’ll stick with it as it is.

And just a little tidbit for you to enjoy here … My mom says she still remembers her grandmother singing this (born in 1868 in Atessa in Chieti, Abruzzi). The zampogna is associated with shepherds in Italy, so it fits for Christmas songs.

And here’s a couple of other good ones to lift from a Christmas concert by the Associazione Culturale Zampogne di Abruzzo. 🙂 And I’m liking seeing a lady piper very much. 😀

“Vaga Luna” — final form!

Vaga Luna (final form)

The lever flips in measures 11 and 13 should be taken with the right hand. The one in measure 17 should be taken with the left and the two chords in the bass staff taken with the right.

It took a while for me to get to this point, but here is the final version, with the coda. I am alternating between this and the little C minor etude I wrote, and I hope at some point to upload a soundfile of myself. Perhaps I will upload video at some point, but I’m uncertain of that. We’ll see. I’m unwilling to upload anything until I get this to the point where I’m content to let other people hear/see it, which may take a while since I’m antsy about that sort of thing.

This is all very wonderful. 🙂 I’m still sort of shocked at the fact that I’m doing this. I think that having watched Layne’s videos compulsively to the point where I can quote from most of them (tone of voice included) for 18 months before purchasing my harp has helped tremendously, as well as being a natural obsessive — and a few other neurological oddities that need not be mentioned here.