Harp Excerises 1
version 1.0 (12/22/01)

by Tibicen

I've apparently started collecting harpers. I don't entirely know how this happened. Many are baby harpers, and many are not taking lessons, studying on their own.

I've noticed (from some of my current batch of harpers, and over time) that a lot of harpers who teach themselves from tutorials, such as the Sylvia Woods harp book, typically wind up with particular faults in their playing, characteristic of learning from a book.

So I made up a batch of excersises to help harpers remedy a few of those faults. This is 'em. Enjoy!

What You're Supposed To Do

Not just two repeats For each of these exercises, you're supposed to play them over-and-over again, without stopping, until you absolutely can't stand it. Do not retard (coast to a stop) at the end, do not break between the end of the exercise and the point to which you repeat. Shoot for thirty times each.

Tick-tock! Play smoothly and steadily, as regular as a clock. Keep very precise, steady, smooth time. Play as slowly as necessary to be able to keep up. The point isn't just to get the notes at all -- after all, the exercises are pretty trivial. You're supposed to get to the point of knowing where all the notes are pretty readily. The point is to practice the smoothness of your playing. Do not speed up or slow down as you play.

The Exercises

Exercise I is as trivial as it looks. The point is not for you to have to think a lot about where you are placing your hands, or how you'll get a note. The point is for you to think about how you are striking (plucking) each string, to practice getting a consistent, smooth sound from the harp, and to build hand independence.

Exercises II & III can be practiced individually or together (as notated). The point is to practice "stepwise" motion, and make it as smooth and a regular as possible, and to build hand independence.

Exercise IV is about hand independence. It's something of a "brain twister". Just as actors will practice tongue twisters over and over until they can say them smoothly, so you can practice this until it is smooth.

Exercise V is our one foray into theory. The bass line of this excercise is a standard I, IV, V, I cadence. You're going to have to play this and its relatives a lot over the course of your life as a musician. Also, many things harmonize to it and its close relatives; get your lower hand used to playing it, so you can pop it in wherever you like. This exercise is also about hand independence, and playing big jumps smoothly.

Exercise VI, and the three which follow, are a set. They all have identical or highly similar top lines. The harmony varies only rhythmically -- this is sort of "Montessori music". Each is a worthwhile exercise in smoothness; considered together, they will train your mind to recognize the comparative feel of different rhythmic figures. Once you have mastered all of them separately, jump around between them at the repeat.

This is EgoWare! If you used it and found it useful, drop me a note to let me know, so I will be encouraged to make more things like it!
Tibicen, 12/22/01
tibicen hyphen harpstuff
at mixolydian dot org