How's this harp part?

Posted In: Repertoire


  • Participant
    epistrophy on #215869

    I’m writing a piece for an ensemble with a harp and I have some playability questions which I’m not sure about, so I just wondered if anyone here would be able to give me their opinion.

    The first screenshot is the first option – I think his would be better, but if it’s too difficult I can use the second option (the sextuplets).

    The tempo is crotchet = 85.

    The harpist will be of a good standard but won’t have much time to practice the piece.

    Any suggestions or opinions welcome! Thanks!

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    Participant
    Gretchen Cover on #215873

    Personally, the second option is easier to play and the one I would prefer. Have you discussed this with the harpist who will actually play the part?


    Participant
    paul-knoke on #215878

    The second one is much better. In the first version, the harpist is having to place fingers on strings which have just been played, like the Eb and Bb in the first figure. This is going to damp out a lot of the sound, and runs a high risk of buzzes.


    Participant
    carl-swanson on #215882

    The second one is much better. But you need to change the notation. In all of those arpeggios, the left hand will play 3 notes, and the right hand will play 3. So group them that way. It’s mainly beats 1 and 2 of each measure that need to be corrected.


    Participant
    epistrophy on #215886

    Great, thanks for the replies! Seems like I should go for the second option then.

    Is this better?

    Speaking with the harpist who’s going to play it would be ideal, but isn’t possible, unfortunately.

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    Participant
    Gretchen Cover on #215892

    Yes, looks more organized. BTW, thank you for including a harp part in your music and for asking real harpists for advice on the scoring.


    Participant
    carl-swanson on #215893

    It’s PERFECT!!!


    Participant
    epistrophy on #215898

    Great, thanks for giving me your opinions, it’s much appreciated!


    Participant
    carl-swanson on #215903

    You must be English. A “crotchet” I think is an eighth note isn’t it? So counting eighth notes, 8 beats to the measure. It might be possible to play your first option. Here are three ways it could be fingered. 1) Each hand would play two notes, alternating back and forth through the whole measure. The left hand would play the first two notes, the right hand the next two, then left and right continuing through the whole measure, always playing just two notes at a time.
    2) Play the first 3 notes of each 32nd note group with the left hand and the last note of the group with the right, OR, 3) Play the first note of each group with the left hand and the last 3 with the right. That’s probably the one that would work best and be perfectly playable. In that version, the left hand would play the first note of the first group with 4, then the first note of the next with 1, and continue like that through the measure. I would suggest you find a good harpist, have that person try the three suggestions I made, and then notate it for the one that he/she says works the best.


    Participant
    epistrophy on #215913

    Thanks a lot for those suggestions, Carl. A crotchet is actually a quarter note, so it’s twice as fast as that. So maybe it’s not so easily playable after all.

    I did have in mind when I wrote it that each hand would play two notes, alternating between the two (the first option you mention). But if the sextuplet version is clearly more comfortable and idiomatic, I’m inclined to go with that version.

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