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Beginner harper, very late starter!


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#46 dorfmouse

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 09:54

Thanks , Sopsax, yes. The song in question is specifically Lulajze Jesuniu, a beloved Polish Christmas carol and the choir has some quirky harmonies. However, I got down to it last week and am quite chuffed with my effort! My teacher checked it out and simplified a couple of overambitious jumps.
I've chosen to play Pampuch's arrangement of Pachelbel's Canon, and Betty Paret's Berceuse de Noel for my entry into the solo world!!
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#47 Zixi

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 10:20

Choir conductor: "Dorfmouse, do you think you could accompany one of the carols in the Advent concert?"
"Ermmm...."
"Yes, just make up a simple accompaniment! And it'd be silly to have the harp there for just one song wouldn't it - the audience would love to hear a couple of short pieces! Not many harps round here."

Guess what I'm doing in a couple of weeks. Not one to be called chicken, me. Gulp!!

 

Just seen this! That's wonderful! They'll love it and it'll be soooo much fun preparing, I'm sure!


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#48 sopsaxharpflute

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 18:27

Sounds great, Dorfmouse, congratulations with your entry in the solo world.


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#49 dorfmouse

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 13:38

Just checking in to wish you all the very best for 2019. It'd be lovely if some new people would join us, or to hear from some of the people who used to post.

Well, my solo debut was a real roller coaster. The Pachelbel went completely off the rails and only got back on to the right chord on the last bar. I exaggerate not! The Berceuse was super and I really enjoyed playing it. The carol accompaniment was OK, but the choir went so flat I didn't feel comfortable. No way of tuning down to match them!

So onwards and sideways. I'm having a go at harmonics as I seem to produce some nice ones accidentally in the right hand when crossing under .... !

Am continuing with my resolve of lots of "simple" pieces that can sound beautful and Irish slow airs are great for this. I'll revist some of the pieces that I gave up on previously that were just a bit too much e.g. a couple of Bernhard Andre's Ribambelles. Unfortunately there's not enough time and energy in the week to do as much as I like, what with piano, choir and (aarrrgh!) preparing for a flute exam.
But I decided to definitely retire at the end of this academic year, which will free up the daily 2-3 hours of terror on the Autobahn. So I'm glad to have made a head start on this lovely instrument.

Would love to hear about other people's progress!
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#50 Zixi

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 11:47

dofmouse - you so inspire me but sadly, I got a little way and then damaged my hand badly... so the harp fell by the wayside yet again!!! I'm sure you're right about getting some pieces you feel good about - I'm sure that will build confidence. I'm not saying, I'll never learn the harp but I think it's parked for a bit! I do wish you all the best with retirement. It was the best thing that ever happened to me because without it other wonderful things would never have happened. I hope yours is joyous too!


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#51 dorfmouse

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 07:49

So sorry to hear about your hand Zixi, I hope it's better now. Your harp will call you again one day, however it also makes a lovely bit of furniture!
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#52 Zixi

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 12:17

I bent some fingers backwards on my right hand as I did a handstand from tripping over the flex on an electric blanket around November 1st! The two worse joints (3 and 4 on the harp) have just now started to work properly. The harp is still on the agenda but not until I recover my recorder position as I have a recorder teacher now!!! dorfmouse - you really are inspirational. And I love your optimism! It's a joy! I don't regret for one moment the time I spent with my harp; I will do so again! Happy Harping New Year!!!


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#53 dorfmouse

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Posted 08 February 2020 - 11:40

Well, the "new" year is well underway and I was wondering if any harpists, new or old, are still lurking here?!
I continue to progress in mini steps, but progress it is at least!
At the Christmas choir concert I accompanied Walking in the Air from The Snowman. I simplified the piano accompaniment a bit but it was still a challenge. I decided it was ultimately easier to do it by heart and amazed myself by managing! The worst problem was playing in a stone-cold church, cold hands adding to nerves. It was so cold that I had to do a big retune and the electronic tuner was also going mad!
I'm learning Grandjany's Trois Petites Pièces Faciles and my ever optimistic teacher mentioned the Barcarolle is next ...
I was rooting through my piano music the other day and dug out that lovely theme song used for the BBC Beatrix Potter animations, Perfect Day by Colin Towns. Hmm, that would sound lovely on harp thought I, so I'm nibbling away at that.
I'm practising an assortment of Irish music and, after months and months,(another one of those pieces I probably started before I was ready!) I can play Marie Bhan Óg by heart, an ambition after hearing a lovely ensemble version of it by the Grace O'Malley quartet.
And I'm off to an Irish harp course in the west of Ireland in summer!
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#54 AdLibitum

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Posted 08 February 2020 - 20:00

Well, I've been lurking for a while, even though I've only recently registered.

Your Christmas concert sounds great. But these stone churches are cold, aren't they? A tip I got from a professional musician: bring a hot water bottle and clutch it while waiting your turn. It really helps. It won't help with the tuning, of course...
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#55 dorfmouse

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Posted 08 February 2020 - 21:24

Hello and welcome Adlibitum!
What harpy stuff are you up to?
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#56 AdLibitum

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 19:38

Thank you dorfmouse! :) I started with the aim of playing Irish and Scottish music, but quickly rediscovered my interest in classical music. At the moment I'm working on some of Bernard Andres's Spices and some of Deborah Friou's arrangements.

The Irish harp course sounds great. Are you travelling with your own harp or will they provide one there?
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#57 dorfmouse

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 21:13

Yes there are harps to hire. No way am I going to trust my treasure to Ryanair! I'll probably visit some family too so don't want to be lugging it all over the countryside.
Bernard Andres' pieces are great aren't they, so varied and interesting. I had a go at a couple of the Ribambelles but they were too demanding for me at the time. I feel much readier to go back to them now, (I think!!)
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#58 erard

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 20:12

Been there done that for the hot water bottle in cold church.  If nicely wrapped up they don't need to be left off stage either.  Wrist warmers really make a difference too. 


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#59 AdLibitum

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 19:53

Yes, I agree that Andres is great. There's always so much going on in every piece, even if it is short or "simple".

Yes, wrist warmers, definitely! But erard, how did you use your bottle on stage if you were playing?
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#60 Pickle

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 12:06

I experimented with cycling arm warmers and those heat packs "Little Hotties" tucked in.

 

The inside of the wrist was the most logical place to put the heat pack as the veins come close to the surface there. But the bulge brushed against the soundboard and whilst not actually getting in the way, they were a distraction.

 

I tried pushing them round the back of the wrist, but they wouldn't stay put for very long.

 

But they certainly worked. If I get asked to do Christmas carols outside again I will probably experiment with securing them in place with micropore tape, or just getting used to the bulge on the inside of the wrist.

 

Or maybe just say no to outdoor gigs in freezing conditions :lol:


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