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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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