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How to play with flat palm?

  • Emily
    Emily Rose

    Over some of the notes in the left hand of my sheet music there is a +, and as a note it stands that this should be played with flat palm. Is it the same as this http://www.expertvillage.com/video/149426_playing-harp-open-palm-technique.htm ? Do this symbol have a special name?

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    replies to "How to play with flat palm?"
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      No, the technique in the video is called a harmonic and is denoted by a small, unfilled circle above the note. The technique name you are looking for is an ├ętouffez. (also spelled etouffee) The execution of this technique is only possible with the left hand. (as I have learned it) Go to pluck the string that has the plus sign above it with only your thumb as you normally would. Now bring all your other fingers (including pinkie) and position them so that they are resting on the strings, parallel to your thumb. To pluck this note, pluck your thumb as normal but instead of raising, bring the bottom of your hand away from the harp, keeping the tips of your fingers on the strings. This allows your hand to stay in this position for multiple etouffez. If this etouffez is the last, after bringing the bottoms of your hand away from the harp, you may raise normally. Etouffez can also be performed on intervals, usually octaves. When coming to play the octave, place your hand on the strings so that your fingers are parallel to the floor and your thumb is on the top note and your third or fourth finger (whichever is more comfortable) is on the bottom note. Now pluck the strings as normal and raise as normal. The purpose of an etouffez is to dampen the strings around a note, in order to achieve things like reducing dissonance or producing a staccato-like effect.


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    • Carl
      Carl Swanson

      Who is that idiot in the video??? She calls a harmonic an open palm technique?? And then talks about an open palm glissando as being related to a harmonic??? I've never seen such an idiotic confusing explanation for harp technique in my life!

      What you are referring to, the little + sign over a left hand note, is a type of left hand muffling. But you need a teacher (in the room) to explain this technique and teach you to do it. Videos on the internet and written explanations here are not a way to learn to play the harp, or any other instrument for that matter.

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    • Elinor
      Elinor Niemisto

      I think that the + is more of a separated sound than completely staccato or etouffe.  As you pluck with the thumb, the flat hand muffles the previous sounds, especially on the lower strings.  It can be nearly legato, but very clean.
      I agree that that particular video is not the appropriate demonstration of what you asked about.

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    • Mel
      Mel Sandberg

      I also looked at that video.  Is it possible for anybody to identify the harp - make and model?  Is it an unusually small pedal harp, or is the harpist an unusually tall woman?  Is the harpist's name Megan Ashley?

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    • Catherine
      Catherine Rogers

      That's a Salvi Arianna concert grand, and yes, she does appear to be rather tall.

      I watched part of some of the other videos. Her delivery sounds like she's speaking "off the cuff" rather than from a script. Among other things, she said Salvi and Lyon & Healy have been building harps for 150 years. That's incorrect. Lyon & Healy built their first harp in 1889 and Salvi in 1954.

      Many of us occasionally have posted information we thought was accurate and have recanted when we found we were wrong. It seems careless to make "instructional videos" with misinformation which can be so easily checked. Just my opinion, which is not worth much.

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    • Karen
      Karen Conoan

      A flat palm glissando is new to me. Her technique gives a very muted sound and reminds me more of a string 'whistle' effect.

      Most method books show a single right hand harmonic produced differently; more with a bent knuckle pressed to the spot, not the heel of the hand as with a left hand harmonic. Calling the procedure a "flat palm" technique doesn't even make sense.

      I watched several of the videos; they promote a do-it-yourself mindset. The author suggests some texts to help "when you get stuck;" some of the comments were negative toward having a teacher, in my opinion.

      Karen C

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    • Saul
      Saul Davis Zlatkovski

      A plus sign in Grandjany's music means to play with your thumb and a flat palm to muffle the bass notes underneath it.

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