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Making an even sound

  • Aglaia
    Aglaia T


    I just started playing the harp and my teacher keeps saying that the sound I produce is uneven. Does anyone have any tips on attaing this except for "keep practicing"?


    Thanks a million!

    replies to "Making an even sound"
    • Briggsie B.
      Briggsie B. Peawiggle, Esq.

      Did you ask your teacher for some ideas too? I hope you did. If you are just starting, of COURSE your playing is uneven. I'm hoping that when your teacher tells you this (s)he gives you some ideas for correcting it as well. One thing that helped me was playing scales very slowly and making sure that every note I played as I was running through two octaves was absolutely even, with my hands in the right position. Another thing that helped is Salzedo's Conditioning Exercises. Good luck.



    • Tony
      Tony Morosco

      Briggsie's advice is spot on.

      On harp playings the notes of scales is very easy in any key, unlike the piano. However what makes scales hard on harp is playing them evenly, so focus on that. Start trying simply to keep the loudness and tone same though out. Later on practice playing scales in cressendo and decrescendo. When you start paying attention to what causes the loudness to change you automatically start learning how to keep it even as well.

      And the Salzedo exercises are great for this kind of thing as well, but start with scales. Also runs or arpeggios. In fact if I recall correctly when I needed to focus on this my teacher had me playing arpeggios before scales.

      We all have this problem at first so don't feel bad about it. Just keep practicing and working on it and you will eventually develop full control over the dynamics of your playing.

    • Aglaia
      Aglaia T

      Thank you so much, to the both of you, for your advice!! :D

    • Audrey
      Audrey Nickel

      The only thing I can add to this excellent advice is be patient, and go easy on yourself.  This is a tricky skill...I've been playing for two years now, and still sometimes have problems with it (especially with my rolled chords).  Don't get discouraged if it seems hard at first...it does get easier!


    • Irene
      Irene C


        I also am trying to keep it even, as in volume and timing.  Is there an instrument that measures the volume (dynamics) of the string as you play it.  I think the ear should be a good indicator however the more bass as opposed to Higher notes (for lack of a better word) do they measure the same or do they should the same? 


    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Irene- I think you make an excellent point. The term "uneven" doesn't mean anything in music unless it's attached to something else. Rhythm-tempo-tone-volume? I think the first step towards improving the "even" sound is to find out what your teacher is describing. Then the teacher can select the elements that need to be practiced to increase more even _________. That's what she's being paid for!

    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I just had to jump in to say...

      Thank you everyone so much for, first -all the excellent questions, and secondly for the well thought-out answers.  I hate to keep asking my teacher so many questions every lesson....she hardly has time to teach   :)

      I'm in my 50's and this is something I've always wanted to do.  I've had 5 harp lessons and  I can not believe how much enjoyment I am getting from it.  thanks again!

      ( My teacher is fabulous, so encouraging and such a wonderful harpist.  Her name is Pam Block, in Blue Springs MO.  I highly recommend her!)