practical news, for practical harpists

Forums » Amateur Harpists » Glissandi

About Forums

Welcome to the Harp Column forums. Please read the Terms and Conditions before posting. By using this forum, you agree to adhere to these terms.

Want to add links or emphasis to your posts? Read the Harp Column blog about posting shortcuts.


  • Roy
    Roy Clement

    New harpist here....

    I have seen various Harpists use picks and pads for glissandi.

    Could someone give me some etiquette tips regarding using things other than your fingers for this purpose?



    replies to "Glissandi"
    • Tony
      Tony Morosco

      I don't know if there is any etiquette about it. There are basically two reasons for using picks or pads.

      One is if it is hurting your fingers when you play. There are some pieces that have many glissandi in them, and if you are learning or playing pieces like that a lot it can wear on your fingers, so picks or pads can save you a lot of hurt.

      Second is to get a specific sound. Sometimes you want a very specific tone that your fingers can't produce but that picks made out of various materials can.

      It isn't a matter of etiquette. It is simply a matter of using the best tools to produce the results you are trying to achieve.

    • Tacye
      Tacye Phillipson

      If you are playing in an orchestra I believe in doing your best to make the same sound in rehearsal as you will in the concert so the conductor knows what to expect.  So if I want the sound of finger glisses in a piece, tempting as it may be to rehearse with gliss picks, I try to do as much of the rehearsals as I can with fingers.  If I want to cut through the orchestra with picks in the concert I remember to get them out for the rehearsal.

      I can't think of any time I have used picks for solos.  It hasn't been a sound I have wanted, or thought the composer wanted, and I don't find practising with them useful for later playing without.

    • Brianna
      Brianna Halpern

      this is my opinion only,
      I would say be aware of what type of sound your pick produces
      Try to make it sound as natural (like its from your own fingers) as possible and avoid the "kuh-chunk!" sound.
      I like to use the rubber wedgie picks or sometimes a well broken in felt pick that I keep on a small cord (so I don't lose it while scrambling back and forth from picks to the rest of the music). Make sure to give yourself enough time to pick up the picks off your music stand and put them back before you start playing the rest of the passage.
      Hope that helps

    • Saul
      Saul Davis Zlatkovski

      It is not so hard to play them naturally, just be sure to spend about ten minutes a day playing glissandi at all different dynamics so your callouses can handle it. You can change angle of your finger for slightly different tone or impact. I think almost anything would be preferable than to use picks, speaking from the listening point of view. Especially if you are amplified. You can also use your 4th and 5th fingers when 2 and 3 are tired.