Heavenly Harmonics – A Guide

Jan 25, 2016

 

In the last post , we examined the acoustical principles of harmonics. We also discussed the number one rule for playing a beautiful bell-like harmonic: you must stop the string in the exact center.  Let’s go step by step through all four elements of playing a harmonic

 

Harmonics Step By Step
Step One: The Center

This is the “center of the string”...

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How to Play Heavenly Harmonics

Jan 18, 2016

This post is the first of a two-part series to help you understand harp harmonics, the science behind them and the tips you need to make yours ring beautifully.

There is no more beautiful sound than a harp harmonic, ringing with a silvery clarity. Philadelphia harpist Edna Phillips was fond of recounting how the famous conductor Stokowski raved about the bell-like tone of her harmonics. But if...

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What Do You NEED to Know?

Jan 11, 2016

Remember those high school classes you thought were a waste of time? Maybe you were one of those who struggled through geometry proofs. Or perhaps you scheduled a sick day when your biology teacher scheduled a frog dissection, or flung curses at Chaucer’s Middle English, joining the chorus of countless generations of students: When am I ever going to need to know this?

I’m certain...

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A Scale for the New Year

Jan 04, 2016

The New Year. New beginnings, New ideas, goals, hopes and dreams. All exciting and energizing.

I love the wonderful possibilities that a new year presents. Each year I look forward to setting goals and putting in place systems that will help keep me on track to achieve them.

I’ve used complicated systems and I’ve used simple ones, but I have found over time that I stay on track best...

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7 Surprising Facts about “O Holy Night”

Dec 21, 2015

Adolphe Adam, composer

Whether you know it as “O Holy Night” or “Cantique de Noël,” you probably either love it or hate it. You may find the music and words moving and inspiring, or you may just have heard one too many singers struggle through the high notes. Either way, I have a few facts that, while they might not change your mind about the song, are sure to give...

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Are You Practicing or Just Doing Time?

Dec 14, 2015

Has your practice become just another chore? Are you just doing time?

You know you need to practice, but it just isn’t interesting. Or maybe you’re not seeing any progress, so you soldier on, getting more frustrated by the day. Or maybe you don’t know what to do in your practice, so you play a few things through and call it done.

I have news for you. Practice may be a daily...

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Are You Ready to Burst Your Bubble?

Dec 14, 2015

Have you ever thought about a simple soap bubble?

It’s a beautiful and amazing creation, air trapped in layers of soap film, a fragile phenomenon combining surface tension and elasticity.I always enjoyed playing with bubble wands, seeing how big I could make the bubbles and how long they would last. How hard it is to keep that bubble from breaking!

“Living in a bubble” is a...

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Two Ways to Get a Music Conservatory Education

Nov 29, 2015

Concert at the Paris Conservatory, 1843

The music conservatory: a hothouse for nurturing musical talent and an opportunity available to only the select few. For hundreds of years these elite music schools have trained world-class musicians and the tradition continues. The focused atmosphere and the access to instruction from the finest teachers and performers make a conservatory education the...

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Speed Up Your Bass Clef Reading

Nov 23, 2015

Is bass clef slowing you down? It’s something of a mystery to me why bass clef should present a stumbling block to harpists who read treble clef perfectly well.

Perhaps we just put more effort into learning (and teaching!) treble clef and figure that bass clef will get better over time. Or maybe we are so eager to play more music that we don’t spend quite enough time on all the...

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How to Play Music You Hate

Nov 15, 2015

I don’t like starting a blog post with such a negative title, but I might as well admit it; sometimes we have to play music we just don’t like. You can probably instantly bring to mind that one piece of music you really can’t stand. Maybe it’s a holiday carol you’ve heard in too many shopping malls or maybe it’s just a piece that is definitely not your...

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