Ep. 170 – Playing fast ornaments (featuring “The Nightingale”)

In this episode I talk about how choosing a fingering that focuses just on a fast ornament or section and then comes off, even if there are additional notes after the ornament, can be a useful approach. I use two sections from Deborah Henson-Conant’s “The Nightingale” to demonstrate what I mean.

Sheet music for “The Nightingale” can be found at DHC’s website https://www.hipharp.com/

Ep. 165 – How to play “Petite Berceuse” by Hasselmans

A look at Alphonse Hasselman’s lovely “Petite Berceuse“. In the key of C and playable on a 25 string harp, the sheet music is in the public domain and can be found at archive.org – https://bit.ly/2Jo2aY9

Harpist in a Tree, episode 2, features me playing “Petite Berceuse” in a tree 🙂 Watch it at https://youtu.be/2hezgZDifyk

Ep. 164 – How to play with two hands at the same time (featuring Skye Boat Song)

Is playing a separate pattern in each hand a challenge for you? In this episode of Harp Tuesday I offer some ideas of how to coordinate playing with both hands at the same time, using as an example a small section from my arrangement of The Skye Boat Song.

You might also find this episode useful: https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-110-coordinating-two-hands-contrary-motion-and-practicing/

My arrangement of The Skye Boat Song is available as a PDF at http://www.joshlayne.com/store/

Ep. 162 – Playing a smooth left hand pattern in Fauré’s Pavane

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I use the left hand pattern in Kim Robertson’s arrangement of Fauré’s Pavane to talk about three things to do to make an up and down left hand pattern sound as smooth and flowing as possible.

Kim Robertson’s Celtic Harp Solos is an excellent book. Your favourite harp music retailer will probably have a copy (or could obtain one for you). For example: https://gourd.com/robertsonbooks.html

It’s also available as a PDF download: https://harpcolumn.com/music/all-music/artists/kim-robertson/celtic-harp-solos/

 

 

Ep. 161 – Relax! Staying relaxed while playing the harp

Relaxation is so important when playing any instrument – both for speed and to remain injury and pain free. Making sure your fingers don’t stay clenched into the palm when they aren’t playing is one key to staying relaxed. In this episode I talk about how to achieve that (including using a rubber band as an aid!) and demonstrate how it looks.

Ep. 155 – Non-standard harmonics (extended technique)

Normally, when we play a harmonic on the harp it sounds an octave higher.

But it’s possible to play harmonics that sound an octave and a 5th higher, or 2 octaves, or 2 octaves+ 3rd, 2 octaves+ 5th, etc.

In this episode I demonstrate a technique I worked on recently to facilitate these extended harmonics that’s different from the way we normally play harmonics. Hope you enjoy 🙂 Would love to hear from you if you use an unusual physical approach when playing harmonics!

Ep. 149 – 151 in-depth look at Scheherazade on the lever harp (3 parts)

A look at Barbara Brundage’s wonderful arrangement of Themes from Scheherazade for lever harp.

You can buy it at https://www.harpcenter.com/product/pdf-download-brundage-class2-scheherazade/ or as part of Barbara Brundage’s collection “Classics on Request #2” https://www.harpcenter.com/product/pdf-download-brundage-class2-scheherazade/

I highly recommend listening to the full orchestral original. Here’s a link that shows the score as it plays:  (We hear the violin solo+harp chords “Scheherazade” theme for the first time at 0:52  )

Hope you enjoy! Thanks to one of my patrons for the suggestion – I wasn’t aware of this arrangement and it’s beautiful and a lot of fun to play 🙂 You, too, can become my patron and support Harp Tuesday at https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 148 – How to improvise on the harp: two suggestions Harp


Happy 2019 everyone! I’m busy finishing my annual New Year’s Improv video, and I thought what better subject for today’s Harp Tuesday episode than a look at improvisation. I offer two concrete ideas to spark your creativity and get you improvising in 2019 🙂

You might also enjoy episode 70

And here’s a playlist of my various improv videos

Ep 134 Adapting Tournier’s “Noel” for lever harp

A real-time look at adapting for lever harp the first of six “Noels” by Marcel Tournier. Tournier wrote these for pedal harp, and there’s a certain amount of modulation going on in this Noel. Still, having played through it a couple times I’m hopeful that I can adapt it for lever harp – join me for the journey and lets see if it works out! 🙂

Ep 126 How to regulate your harp

Some useful links:

Dusty strings:
https://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/harps/accessories-hardware/tools-maintenance
https://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/blog/sharping-levers-camac-vs-loveland

Thormahlen Harps:
http://www.thorharp.com/pages/regulatingcamaclevers.htm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRcLPupXuIc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFKYjmmjzvM

Great set of articles about all sort of harp maintenance by Mike Lewis, here’s the link to the article on regulation:
http://www.harptech.com/Articles/Regulation/Regulation.html

Rees levers:
https://reesharps.com/regulating-rees-harp-levers/

Loveland levers (via musicmakers): https://www.harpkit.com/mm5/pdf/Instructions/Lever-1Regulation.pdf

 

Ep. 122 Fundamental exercises on the harp – chord progressions

In this episode oI talk about chord progressions and working on the ability to automatically go up and down a chord sequence (root, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion). As a companion to this episode you might find these two episodes helpful:

https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-34-chord-basics/
https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-71-chordjumping-exercise/

 

Ep. 120 “Alfonso el Sabio” from Kim Robertson’s “Celtic Harp Solos”


In this first episode I take a look at a beautiful piece called Alfonso XII el Sabio (13th century Spain) from Kim Robertson’s sheet music book “Celtic Harp Solos . (I wonder if in fact it’s music associated with Alfonso X el Sabio).

EDIT – Thanks to Therese Honey in the YouTube comments – it is indeed from Alfonso X “Cantigas de Santa Maria”  This is number 166 “Como póden per sas culpas”. Check out this site which has sheet music for the entire set of songs: http://www.cantigasdesantamaria.com/csm/166#music/r

With a rather hypnotic tune and great rhythms this is a very fun piece to play!

(Celtic Harp Solos is an excellent book. Your favourite harp music retailer will probably have a copy (or could obtain one for you). It also appears to be available as a PDF download. For example:

https://gourd.com/robertsonbooks.html

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/kim-robertson-celtic-harp-solos-digital-sheet-music/19899385

And check out Kim Robertson’s website.

Ep. 117 & 118 “Soupir” on lever harp

In episode 117 I demonstrate how to play Marcel Tournier’s beautiful composition Soupir on the lever harp. Written for the pedal harp, it works very well on the lever harp as well! Download my adaption for free. (Want to play this on the pedal harp? The sheet music I used, sans my notation, can be found at archive.org)

(Note that in the video I’d forgotten to circle the low Gb at the end to indicate it’s to be played as an enharmonic (F#). The PDF link has above has the correct notation).

In episode 118 you get a look at me learning Soupir as I try to get it in shape to record it:

Ep. 113 Sheet music on tablets (forScore/iPad)

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I talk about my experience using the forScore app on an iPad air in place of physical sheet music. (I’ve found it very useful).

ForScore

The Donner foot pedal I’m using

I mentioned three places to find free, public domain music online:

The International Harp Archives at Brigham Young University

IMSLP

And for traditional music – The Session

Ep. 111 Exploring electric harps part 1

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I talk about and demonstrate the “Firefly 2” electric harp I bought last year from Wickford Harps / Dick Ranlet as well as talk about electric harps in general.

I will be doing a follow-up episode demonstrating using a looper pedal – if you have any questions you’d like answered let me know!

Video where Dick Ranlet demonstrates his two part harp system –

Ep. 109 “Pistachio” by Bernard Andres

Pistache” (Pistachio) is one of a collection of pieces by Bernard Andres called “Epices” (Spices) where every pieces is based on a spice (Paprika, Cinnamon, Vanilla, etc.)

Pistache is probably my favourite from book one of the collection, and in this episode I take a look at it. Pistache has a bunch of cool effect/extended techniques, some fun rhythm stuff, and is just overall a blast to play 🙂

Ep. 100! A guide to buying a harp

Welcome to the 100th episode of Harp Tuesday! 100 is a big number and I feel proud to have reached it! 🙂 Thanks to all of you who watch and comments on my videos – you’re the reason I’ve made it to #100!

In this episode I offer some thoughts and advice on buying a harp, with an emphasis on advice for someone looking to buy their very first harp.

I hope this is helpful, and thanks for watching!

The complete episode is below, but I also split this episode into individual sections if there’s something specific you’re interested in.

1. Introduction https://youtu.be/lY2PVTGFb-A
2. General advice/synopsis https://youtu.be/znZ6D3Pyss0
3. Three categories of harps https://youtu.be/IINfg-emaQo
4. Celtic harps – how many strings? https://youtu.be/8m-vBBdJY7c
5. Celtic harps – do I need levers? https://youtu.be/OrqoGgxEc8I
6. Build quality and ergonomics https://youtu.be/JcdPXdPgG6k
7. Sound quality https://youtu.be/Q_hj0a-OvRQ
8. Strings – gut or nylon? https://youtu.be/P1xQUAT1mDw
9. Pedal harps https://youtu.be/9tz-M-EvqCQ
10. Other type of harps https://youtu.be/S87aHF79BiE

Ep. 99, 101-105 A look at Fantasy on Greensleeves for lever harp Part 1

In this six part series I take a look at my Fantasy on Greensleeves, the lever harp version. Be sure to check out my Arranging Greensleeves project page for more info, or to buy the sheet music!

Intro and theme:

Practice tips/Variation 1

Variation 2

Lever changes, Rhythm, and more – variation 3

Bridge and Variation 4

Ending and tremolos

Ep. 98 A look at Anne Vanschothorst’s “I Feel Different”

“I feel different” is one of my favourite compositions by Dutch harpist/composer Anne Vanschothorst. It felt like a great subject for my return to Harp Tuesday after a long break due to my European trip, etc.

Feels great to be back, and on almost exactly the five year anniversary of the very first Harp Tuesday episode!

Hope you enjoy – I’ll be doing a couple follow up Slow Motion Monday videos from this piece – look for that next week.

Check out Anne’s music at http://www.harpandsoul.com/ and buy her music books here: http://www.harpandsoul.com/#!shop/c1c9t

And of course check out her YouTube channel! https://www.youtube.com/user/annevans…

 

Ep. 97 a look at the Rondo from Bochsa’s “Air and Rondo”

In this special edition of Harp Tuesday from the Zagreb Harp Centre in Croatia (http://zagrebharpfestival.com) I take a look at the “Rondo” from Bochsa’s “Air and Rondo” – the first piece in Samuel Milligan’s “Medieval to Modern volume 2”.

Last episode I talked about the Air: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo8Nf…

Was wonderful to record surrounded by all these amazing Camac harps (http://www.camac-harps.com/)

Ep. 96 Bochsa’s “Air” from “Air and Rondo”

In this special edition of Harp Tuesday from the Zagreb Harp Centre in Croatia (http://zagrebharpfestival.com) I take a look at the “Air” from Bochsa’s “Air and Rondo” – the first piece in Samuel Milligan’s “Medieval to Modern volume 2”.

Next episode will look at the “Rondo” 🙂

Was wonderful to record surrounded by all these amazing Camac harps (http://www.camac-harps.com/)

Ep. 80 How to read music part 2 – Rhythm!

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I finally (!) finish my look at how to read music. In December of 2010, for my fifth episode of Harp Tuesday, I talked about how to decipher notes on the printed page and translate them into which strings to play on the harp… In this episode I talk about the other aspect of written music – Rhythm!

This was a tricky episode to put together, and I’m still not sure how much sense it makes, but if you’re trying to learn to read music hopefully this will help!

You can download the PDF sheet showing what shapes equal what note durations (Whole note, half note, etc.) here.

Ep. 74 – 78 Looking at “Variations on a theme by Mozart” (or is it?)

In these episodes of Harp Tuesday I look at a piece that I learned as “Variations sur un theme de Mozart”, playable on the Celtic harp and edited by Odette le Dentu. However, it turns out it may have nothing to do with Mozart! Thanks to a youtube comment I found the original on IMSLP – it’s the first of 4 Airs and variations by French composer Martin Dalvimare.

You can find the score and play along at IMSLP

Opening theme and first variation

Variation 3

Variation 4

Variation 2

Variations 5 and 6

Ep. 70 Accompanying and improvising

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I talk about creating simple accompaniment patterns for the left hand based on chords, and offer some ideas on improv. Both draw heavily from a firm knowledge of chord structure – I did an episode on chords that might prove useful.

I use Auld Lang Syne as the demonstration piece for this episode. I’m reading from a handwritten lead sheet (chord symbols + right hand tune). Download the PDF here.

The section on improvisation starts at 10:22

Note that since this episode I’ve been doing more and more free improvisation – here are a couple shorter improvs and an improv concert:


Ep. 69 figuring out lever changes (Bach – Prelude No. 1)

In this episode of Harp Tuesday, I try to arranged Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C from the Well-Tempered Clavier for the lever harp.

The episode:

And you can watch me figure out the lever changes in real time:

I used a public domain setting of the piece from Mutopia

Here is a scan of the completed version with all my markings – download the images by right-clicking and selecting “save image as…”

Ep. 67 Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

In this episode I talk about Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (from Cantata BWV 147)

The beauty of virtual sheet music is I can easily offer a whole bunch of different versions!

So pick the one you prefer, or download them all!

The arrangement is for the public domain, so feel free to copy and distribute as much as you would like.

(All files are PDFs)

For lever harp with complete fingerings

For pedal harp with complete fingerings

The only difference between the two versions is a low B in the bass, and the markings for the lever/pedal change.  The next two versions include the low B.

Partial fingerings

No fingerings

Ep. 53 In depth look at “A Bird Came Flying”

In this episode of I take an in-depth look at Anne Vanschothorst’s A Bird Came Flying from her book of five original solos.

I recorded a music video of A Bird Came Flying last year.

The piece can be broken into 5 parts, here are time links to when I start talking about each part:
Start – Page 1  1:50
Page 2  12:15
Page 3   18:56
Pages 4+5   24:50
Page 6   30:15

Information on ordering the music book of A Bird Came Flying can be found here: http://www.abirdcameflying.com/order.htm

You can watch Anne Vanschothorst’s beautiful music video of one of the other pieces in the book (I Feel Different) here

Here’s audio from a concert I gave last summer of A Bird Comes Flying + I Feel Different – https://soundcloud.com/harpandsoul/harpist-josh-layne

Ep. 52 Ave Maria duet

For the first Harp Tuesday episode of 2013 I tried something new – a virtual duet of the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria.




I’ve recorded both parts to the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria, with the idea being that you can pick a part to play (tune/accompaniment) and then playing along with the video of the corresponding part – a virtual duet!

The tune is quite easy – just single notes for the right hand.  It can be played on the lever harp (there are two lever changes, but since the left hand isn’t playing they should be fairly painless…)

The accompaniment (Bach’s Prelude No. 1) is harder, and involves a number of pedal changes.  I’m also not sure how easy it will be to try and play along with the tune, since the tune has a lot of long notes, where there is no way of knowing whether we’re together or not…  Would love to hear your experiences if you try it!

You can download a PDF of the sheet music.  As long as it isn’t too confusing, I’d suggest trying to play from the score, which has both parts.  This lets you see what the other part is supposed to be doing 🙂

Download the score

Download the tune only

Download the accompaniment only