for Helpful Harp Hints nearly every Tuesday.
Downloadable Sheet Music and Etudes
for Harp Students and Harp Teachers
you find these useful, please let us know by sending an email.
resources, for the most part are suitable for harps as small as 22
sheet music for the etudes are posted as PDF files for free, immediate
much faster to browse
if you don't have to download
them first. If you have a Mac and use Safari, you already know how
handy this can be. Here's some tips
that might make this possible
for you if this feature isn't already enabled on your computer.
by Barbara Ann Fackler Rot und Schwarz is
the theme for a
of skill building preludes for harp. In the same way that we often
simplify map reading, by not naming every street that we'll pass on the
way to our destination, note reading is simplified when new harpists
can quickly identify where all the black and red strings are notated on
the staff. These are useful for teachers as well as those learning on
their own. Once these come easily, try my arrangement of Ode to Joy.
all found in Short
and Sweet Volume
III: Accessible Solos
would also be a great place to use your new skill. Look for music in
Quick Music catalog that is a Skill Building version and dig
Introduction to Note Reading for Harpists The
title pretty much sums it up. To read notes well, you need to
understand how the staff maps out your instrument. It's a beautiful
system that shows you the location of each note on your instrument. Pay
attention to how the notes move, up or down on the staff. Learn the
watch for relationships as notes move, is it moving stepwise or
skipping around, going up or down? When you read a map, do you need to
know the name of every street you pass on your way to the next turn, or
do you just need to know how many blocks to travel and in what
direction? Note reading works in a similar fashion. This free one
music worksheet reminds you what you need to know.
Reading and Rhythm Tutorial Each
note on the staff tells you two things about itself: 1) what it sounds
like (the pitch of the note, and the string it is played on and 2) how
long the note should last (the duration of the note). Where the note
lays on the staff (which line or space) tells you what string to play
and what the note will sound like. What the note looks like tells you
how long the note should last. Download this free one page (PDF)
that explains note values and how to interpret them. 32KB
Four in a Row
One of my favorite things about the Suzuki method is that it
teaches the placing of all 4 fingers very early on. Learning to do this
teaches you to find a good healthy hand position. If you've worked
through this and the study on root position triads, try out the
lever-free version of Grieg's Morning
Song or Saltarello
(recorded on my CD).
You might also consider Irish
Love Song and Meditation
from the Short
and Sweet Volume
III: Accessible Solos
It's a lot more interesting to fine
tune your new skills with music you
enjoy than an etude and when you're done, you've got music you can play
for family and friends. If you're up for a more serious workout, grab
etudes and start at page 6.
to play thirds is the beginning of being able to add harmony to your
music. It is important to learn to bring both the thumb and second
finger off the string at exactly the same moment and to be able to
recognize the interval of a third when the notes are not played as a
chord but as individual notes following one another. Work through this
short study until you can control your fingers reliably. Then, you're
ready to work on music that incorporates thirds like Kelvingrove (used
in the Gather
part of Short
and Sweet Volume
III: Accessible Solos. Silent Night, Hosanna,
Beethoven's Ode to Joy
might be good choices for you if you can manage this study well.
If you are comfortable with placing three notes in a row,
you could also learn Hymn
of Thanksgiving or Children
of the Heavenly Father
Sacred Lever Harp or
Ron Harris' In
This Very Room.
fingerings for harpists
If you are consistent in your habits as a beginner you'll
an easier time as you attempt more difficult music. There aren't too
many chord shapes for a harpist to know. Because our instrument works
chromatically differently than other instruments, a minor third and
major third are virtually the same to our hands. Once you realise this
and memorize the typical fingerings for each interval, large chords and
arpeggios become much easier to master.
in Root Position (C Major)
Root position triads are often found in beginning music and they're
very useful when learning to improvise. Small harps that don't allow
for large chords will use them all the time. You need to master not
just placing this chord shape but recognizing it. When you have
mastered this, you can learn Westphalia,
Savior Like a Shepherd
Lead Us, Ode
to Joy(version A), We Three
All the Pretty Little
Horses or the Sweetheart
Waltz. If you work with a harp ensemble, you are
ready to play first harp on Arabesque
if you have mastered this exercise. Once you're
comfortable with the version in the key of C, try the other keys as
well. Click each link for sheet music for each free harp etude.
triads: D major triads:
G major triads:
a minor 56
Chords may be inverted, meaning the note on the bottom is no longer the
root. Once you've learned to dependably find a root position chord,
it's time to learn how to find the inversions. This prepares you to
(version C), Come Thou
Almighty King, Christ
the Lord Has Risen Today, Fairest
You're also probably ready to start learning to read lead sheets. Work
this in different keys to learn the chords that commonly ocurr in keys
you'll use a lot on lever harp. Download the sheet music for these keys
after you've learned the one in C major: key of
D key of
F key of Eb key of
Short Study in the Placement of Four Note
Root Position Chords
The beautiful thing about harp is that we
can memorize the shapes of commonly used chords which simplifies note
reading. Root position chords always have the same shape to the hand on
a harp, no matter the key. Finding chords of three notes is much easier
than four note chords, so a little extra practice finding big
chords is often necessary.
This is a short study, to be practiced over
long period of time that will help you memorize the shape of a four
note root position chord. When you are ready to work on all the
inversions possible with four note chords, grab the Lariviére
etudes and look at page 5, which offers enough exercises that you'll be
busy for a long time. The exercise on page 5 of
can be played on lever harps, there are plenty for pedal harp
only. 76 KB
Included are two (2)
lead sheets that are designed with harpists in mind. Learning to read
standard lead sheets opens up limiless possibilities for repertoire,
even to the novice. Also including on this page is a list of
commonly occurring chords for commonly used key signatures.
Nearly all of my Beginning-in-the-Middle students learn to
lead sheets sometime in their first two years of study. I
them to use standard lead sheet notation so that they can read any lead
sheet they find. Once you've got the hang of this, check out the lead
sheet collections in the Short Cuts collections.
don't need to be clever to flip levers quickly, you just need to know
how to think about them. Here's a couple of tutorials to get you
Exercises and Etudes
is available as a free
download. This is a great collections of etudes,
aimed at pedal harp but some can be played on lever harp.
Learning to replace
strings on your harp can be daunting until you've
tied the knot enough times that you remember it. Harp Spectrum has a
decent article (with pictures)
that will remind you how to do this. There's also one at Vanderbilt
Music Co. and
a movie at The Harp Herald.
thinking enharmonically makes a passage easier to play,
either on pedal harp or lever harp. This webpage includes a (hopefully
growing) collection of hints that will help you find ways to make
enharmonic spellings simplify and expand your harp playing. Examples
from harp sheet music included.
"There is No Rose",
from Ceremony of Carols: Why Britten chose to put the harp notation in
small notes and the piano in large is a mystery. This insert makes it
easier to read this in poor light, so common in many churches. (pedal
Romeo and Juliet edited
with Elizabeth Volpé, this edition repells some of the
chords to allow
for better chord shapes. It's easier to read, easier to play but sounds
exactly the same. If Tchaikovsky understood harp better, he'd have done
Custom Harp Case Sewing Instructions
Thanks to Jaye, the Winged Harper, these plans are well laid
out and easy to execute.
Here's plans for a DIY raincoat for a small harp. This should
enough for most medium to small lever harps. Click the link to download
the PDF with the free plans.
Stay in Shape With Little
Effort: hints for how to stay in shape if your time is
Harmonics don't have to be difficult. Here's a few tips to
help you consistently find them.
Lighting matters: Why
should you care about a stand light?
hard on harps. Check humidity in your studio and maintain a healthy
humidity for your harps. Lack of humidity can cause tuning
to slip, gut strings to dry out and more serious complications if left
unchecked. Read some reviews of humidifiers and find a
for your space that works. Your harp will be happier and so will you.
on the links
to grab the document
trouble reading or printing the files,
another browser or download the PDF and read and print it off line.
You'll need a
recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (free) for the
files to properly
PC Users - Right Click and select download link to disk.
MAC Users - Control Click and select download link to disk.
single titles for harp
and Sweet: collections for harp
Cuts (lead sheets) horn
resources (free stuff)