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Harmonics


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#1 dorfmouse

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 16:23

I haven't practised these much as previous attempts were so frustrating. But I really want to learn a particular piece,(Betty Paret's "Deep in the Forest" from her Book 2) which has a whole line of them so I started having a determined attempt this week. And, yoohoo! I've suddenly got the feel and they're beginning to come out with some consistency.

Hopefully a temporary measure - I marked strategic black and red strings at the sweet point with a dot of Tippex - probably sacrilege! ????

Also, I found out accidentally that plucking the string with the top outside corner of my thumbnail gives a lovely clear ring - do others do that?
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#2 dorfmouse

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 16:31

The end of my post had a question that disappeared.
I find that if I pluck the harmonic with the top corner of my thumbnail, I get a much nicer ringing sound than using the finger pad. Is this usually done?
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#3 AdLibitum

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 09:17

Congratulations on your harmonics!

I was taught to use the finger pad.

Regarding string markings, my teacher says there's no shame in marking strings. :)
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#4 dorfmouse

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 13:29

Thanks AdLib tho' I think congratulations may be a bit premature! But it does sound lovely when it happens. Yes, I've only seen harmonics done with the finger pad, which was also how my teacher showed me a while ago. Will see what she thinks of my strategies on Friday!
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#5 dorfmouse

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 15:35

My Tippex marks were not greeted with howls of anguish! Rather, she suggested putting them where the fingerpad pulls, rather than the mid- point where the heel of the hand goes. Hand shape as if lightly holding a tennis ball. Make sure to relax hand in between each stroke. Was told have patience - nothing new there!
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#6 AdLibitum

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 16:14

Good! :D
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#7 dorfmouse

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 08:38

"Here today and gone tomorrow" as my mum used to say. Sums up my harmonics!
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#8 AdLibitum

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 07:56

Now you hear them, now you don't sums up mine!
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#9 Pickle

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 19:12

I was at a workshop with the wonderful Anne MacDearmid where we were working on a piece with L.H. harmonics, which were flummoxing some folks. She came out with the brilliant comment "A harmonic should sound like a thing of beauty - not spent knicker elastic". It was about 10 mins before we could all stop laughing and get on with the piece.

 

Changing the height of the seat you are on can alter your perception of where the harmonic spot is (unless you have marked it - which works fine until you change key :lol: ). And until you are confident with them, play them fortissimo, no matter what the music says! A tentatively sounded harmonic stands a good chance of creating the aforementioned lingerie problem type sound, rather than the sweet ringing and celestial tone the composer was probably thinking of.


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#10 dorfmouse

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Posted 26 April 2021 - 22:02

After a long fallow period of not practising them, I picked up again as I was given Deborah Friou's "Scarborough Fair" as a present and loved her arrangement.

By accident I found that if I played the string first normally with a good robust pull and then the harmonic on it before it stops vibrating, I can "catch" the harmonic. It's helped to get the feeling of that very quick feathery touch with the knuckle and as an exercise I've been going up and down the scales playing each note normally and then catching the harmonic quite reliably. Works with the left hand too although the LH technique still feels a bit more awkward to me.

My teacher also told me to play them with a good forte, as Pickle mentioned,it really helps.
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#11 AdLibitum

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 06:09

It's such a lovely piece, isn't it!
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#12 dorfmouse

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 16:21

Oh yes! It's a lovely tune anyway and I think her arrangement captures the mysteriousness (is that a word?) of the song.
I first came across Josh Layne playing it, and he has a tutorial on it and also a slow motion video of the LH arpeggio pattern Bless him!
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#13 AdLibitum

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Posted 27 April 2021 - 16:33

I made very good use of that slow motion video, I remember! :D

I agree about the mysteriousness of the piece, too.
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