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Lever changes

practce techniques

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#1 dorfmouse

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Posted 05 July 2019 - 10:52

I seem to be encountering more pieces now that require lever changes. Would be interested to know if anyone has any systematic practice tips to share.

On Youtube Ray Pool has a video on practising locating the levers and returning to the strings.
Wonderful Josh Layne has a couple about planning lever changes on his Harp Tuesday.

I'm finding it important to try and do the change in a way that fits in with the rhythm, trying to avoid a panicky scrabble to get back to the strings!

As for notating lever changes for accidentals, I like the "Diamond" note insertion best. In a piece I'm learning, all the accidentals in the treble clef were noted on the bass clef with a treble sign. Highly confusing! Got out the Tippex and re-wrote the notes in diamonds.

(I came across a video of Fiachra playing the Händel Harp Concerto in Bb, masses of changes that didn't disturb the flow at all. Superb.)
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#2 erard

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Posted 05 July 2019 - 20:11

As you are finding it is important to work out exactly when you want to do them and practice them at the same time every time.  It is useful to practice playing without looking at the strings so when you are looking at the levers instead it doesn't throw you.

 

Lots of levers! 


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#3 dorfmouse

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Posted 05 July 2019 - 21:08

Aaaaaaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!
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#4 Scaredycat

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Posted 05 July 2019 - 21:48

Well that's given me a new respect for harpists. Aren't there pedals to contend with as well?
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#5 dorfmouse

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 08:06

No, it's generally either/or, which is why you don't see orchestral harpists doing these hand gymnastics, as the job of playing accidentals or coping with rapid key-changes is done by using the pedals. It is easier to play highly chromatic music on a pedal harp as each pedal has 3 positions, to sharp/natural or flatten each string. In a fully levered harp tuned to Eb you can play in I think 7 keys.
There are also smaller pedal harps with fewer pedals, lever harps with fewer levers, harps with no levers at all, also triple strung harps which allow fully chromatic playing .....

(I wonder if any harp has both levers and some pedals?!)
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#6 Scaredycat

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 09:29

Goodness, well you learn something new every day. Thank you Dorfmouse.


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#7 elemimele

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 11:06

Strewth, this also gives me great respect for harpists. And a slightly politically-incorrect understanding of why nimble-fingered ladies were so popular in telephone exchanges...

The beauty of this is that if you shut your eyes, it's impossible to know that all this rapid manipulation of levers is going on. She doesn't let it affect the flow of the music one jot. Phenomenal.


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#8 dorfmouse

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 21:48

Back in the day of manual switchboards and expensive foreign phone calls I trained as a GPO French speaking telephonist in my gap year. " Trying to connect you!."
Perhaps I was more nimble-fingered then!
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#9 dorfmouse

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 20:08

Spending hours working out an accompaniment for "The Snowman."
I need a pedal harp!
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