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Harmonics on clarsach


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#1 Misterioso

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 11:11

I've just read a wonderful book Ellie and the Harpmaker, by Hazel Prior. It encouraged me to rescue my clarsach languishing in its corner of the study with a broken string, and start playing again. One piece I always loved playing was Carens' Farewell by I Mieras, which has an extended passage of harmonics in the right hand. My problem is that I can't remember the technique for playing these as it's such a long time since I've played. Please could anyone help? It's a 34-string lever harp, with just normal bog-standard strings (ie not wire-strung).

 

Really grateful for any tips! :harp: 


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#2 Collyermum

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 14:27

Hi Misterioso!

 

Good to hear you're going back to the harp again.  Mine has had to take a backseat recently as I have been getting serious about learning the piano!

 

I suggest you go to youtube to get the general idea, they ahould be the same technique on any type of harp.  Don't forget that the technique differs depending on which hand you have to use!

 

If you have any specific questions feels free to post them

 

CM xx


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#3 dorfmouse

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 14:49

Josh Layne never lets me down in between lessons! Always clear and detailed explanations.

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=yCjRMhMtO3U

Top tips for me from my teacher generally were:
don't be too proud to mark the strings if it helps. I use a spot of Tippex on the coloured strings, it does wear off eventually. Mark where your finger plays rather than the mid point of the string, it's easier to see.
Pluck the string quite robustly otherwise you end up with a pathetic sound (if you get a vague harmonic sound at all!!)
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#4 Misterioso

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 10:46

Brilliant - thanks so much, dorfmouse! I had remembered sort-of-correctly, but couldn't work out why it wasn't working. I know now! I had never thought to use Tippex to mark the string. I once used a tiny dot of permanent marker pen on my violin E string where I had to go up into around 10th position for my G7 exam, and got in no end of trouble from my teacher, so assumed this was Off Limits! I'll see how I get on, and keep the Tippex standing by just in case.

 

I see Josh Layne has produced a number of youtube clips, so I will revisit; this will be a valuable resource.

 

Thanks so much for your help. :)


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#5 dorfmouse

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 13:47

My teacher says many professionals mark their strings and still fear harmonics ... maybe she's being kind! (As always, bless her!)
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#6 Norway

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 14:39

I don't know whether this is right as I only have grade 2 and am self taught but if you twang the string in the right place on the string with your thumb at the same time as letting go with the middle joint of your index finger that seems to work (I think that's what I do!)


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#7 Gran'piano

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 15:15

That advice sounds exactly the way I explain things to people. It quite made my afternoon. :D


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#8 Norway

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 04:20

:lol: Twang, twang, twang twang... :howDoYouDo:


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#9 dorfmouse

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 10:32

Twang, twang, twang is good progress from thud, thud, thud! :)
Ping, ping, ping is next.

I really, really wanted to learn Deborah Friou's Scarborough Fair which finishes and ends with a little series of harmonics. I suddenly 'got' it, for reasons described above, and now even the left hand ones are (mostly) pinging away quite nicely. Now the teacher is happily suggesting popping them in to other pieces for mysterious echoey effects.
But now it's the changing arpeggio patterns in SF that are doing my head in. It's still a bit above my pay grade!
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#10 AdLibitum

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 12:47

Goodness, those LH arpeggios! I expect you know about it, but Josh Layne has a slow motion video on exactly these. It really helped me when I was learning SF.
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#11 dorfmouse

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 13:50

Thanks AdLib! Josh is one of the treasures of the universe!
Those ever changing arps I can do steadily hands separate, but with HT my poor brain gets stuck in that no man's land between playing bits by heart and other bits where I have to look at the score. Just have to keep plugging away at little chunks and build up slowly.
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#12 AdLibitum

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 14:24

I agree on all counts. :)
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#13 Misterioso

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 12:31

Twang, twang, twang is good progress from thud, thud, thud! :)
Ping, ping, ping is next.

I really, really wanted to learn Deborah Friou's Scarborough Fair which finishes and ends with a little series of harmonics. I suddenly 'got' it, for reasons described above, and now even the left hand ones are (mostly) pinging away quite nicely. Now the teacher is happily suggesting popping them in to other pieces for mysterious echoey effects.
But now it's the changing arpeggio patterns in SF that are doing my head in. It's still a bit above my pay grade!

I would love to learn Scarborough Fair. Is anyone able to send me a link for where to find it? My current favourite (although I haven't relearnt all of it yet) is Caren's Farewell by I Mieras - it's beautiful. :wub:

 

LH harmonics is another thing that was touched on way back when I was still having lessons, and I can't remember how to do that; the only thing I do remember is that the technique was different (ie isn't it a different part of the hand that stops the string?)

 

Talking of twangs and pings, my harp is making mysterious ping and twang noises. I thought it was just the strings stretching after re-tuning, but many of them have never been changed since I had the harp (I can't remember how many blue moons ago, except that it is a lot!) Last time it happened, it was prior to a string snapping. Now another has snapped and it sounds like a third is about to go. It happens when the harp is just standing there in a quiet corner of the room where the temperature doesn't vary too much. Does anyone have any idea why this might be happening? Could it be the age of the strings that is now past its optimum? And they are expensive to replace.


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#14 AdLibitum

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 12:40

Do you keep it tuned? Not tuning it regularly is a major cause of string breakage. Or age, of course.

BTW it's not just temperature changes that affect the tuning, it's humidity as well.
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#15 sopsaxharpflute

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 13:30

Josh Layne never lets me down in between lessons! Always clear and detailed explanations.
 

Yes, Josh Layne's  youtube channel is also one of my favourite places to go to. This playlist  https://www.youtube....EDB4543B36842E1 for the basics and this playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2691F17FBCF2A61F for the fundamentals/technique

Another great source of information is the youtube channel of Christy-Lyn Marais at: https://www.youtube....hristylynmusic

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