Ep. 274 – A look at St. Columba’s Moon by Dorothy Cook

My friend Dorothy Cook asked me a number of years ago if I could write down a piece that she had composed. That piece is called St. Columba’s Moon, inspired by an experience she’d had at a harp event at a place called St. Columba’s house.

I’ve always wanted to do a Harp Tuesday episode about the piece – and here it is! Dorothy has made the sheet music freely available if you want to play it yourself.

Dorothy as an amazing storytelling and I’m so glad that I got the chance to film her telling the story behind the piece. Stay tuned to the end of the episode to hear her story and to hear me play through the entire piece.

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Ep. 273 – testing out Note Rush, a sight-reading app

Once you understand the basics of learning to read music (I did an episode on it many, many years ago! Episode 5…) I think the best way to get fluent is just doing it enough that it becomes second nature.

Drill/flash card style apps can potentially be a good tool. I’ve always thought it would be great to have an app that would let you play the note you think it is on your instrument, and tell you if you were right or wrong! (Rather than typing it, or otherwise indicating the note on the screen).

Thanks to a Facebook discussion I became aware of Note Rush, an app which does just that. In this episode I go over how it works and some of the quirks and downsides.

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Ep. 272 – How to play George Winston’s Carol of the Bells on lever harp

I love George Winston’s take on Carol of the Bells (the traditional Ukrainian song Shchedryk). In this episode I take a look at how to play it on lever harp!

Here’s a link to the sheet music I’m using (note that this is an affiliate link – I will get a small percentage if you purchase the music using the link.

As I mention in the episode, there are several options for Winston’s music, none of which seem to be completely free of errors. If you like his music you might pick up the “George Winston Piano Solos” book 1.

I just bought the Kindle version of the book a couple days ago to see whether it is any more accurate and it seems to be exactly the same as the version I used (mistakes and all). The Prelude, however, seems more accurate, and of course it includes a bunch of other music!

I filmed a music video on pedal harp:

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Ep. 271 – How to figure out pedal changes (featuring Carol of the Bells)

I’m using an easy version of Carol of the Bells (Shchedryk) as the example. You can get a free copy of it by signing up for my email newsletter.

I did a Harp Tuesday episode about learning how to play it (on lever harp) last year at https://www.harptuesday.com/ep250/

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Ep. 270 – Pedal charts: what are they and how to use them? Pedal Harp basics.

Pedal charts are the best way to easily and visually represent the settings of the pedals on a pedal harp at any particular time. In this episode I talk about what they are and how they are used. This episode also covers the topic of pedal charts, from the point of view of a composer or publisher.

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Ep. 269 – Analyzing Hasselmans’ “Rouet”

Today I take a look at Hasselman’s lovely “Rouet” (Spinning Wheel) from his “Three short and easy pieces”. You can find a copy of it at the harp archives: https://archive.org/details/troispetitespi00hass2/page/2/mode/2up

I talk more about the mechanics of playing downward 3 note patterns in an episode on Aurum Aqua (which can be played on pedal or lever harp):

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Ep. 267 – How to play “Swinging” from the 1st Harp Book

In this episode I take a quick look at “Swinging” from page 5 of Betty Paret’s First Harp Book. It features right hand glisses – check out episode 18 for more on glisses: https://www.harptuesday.com/harp-tuesday-ep-18/

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Ep. 266 – Practicing Chopin’s “Raindrop Prelude”

I’m working on Chopin’s Prelude No. 15 (Raindrop) and in this video I give a look at the process of refining how I play the first 4 bars. Recording oneself, listening back and making notes, recording again, listening again, recording again, listening again… is a very powerful technique to help polish a piece of music.

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Ep. 265 – Standard Interval Fingerings

There’s a standard fingering to use for any interval. Of course you don’t always have to follow it (especially if you have particularly small or large hands) but it’s worth knowing about – as well as the reasoning behind it.

You can download a PDF showing these typical fingerings here.

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Ep. 262 – How to play the introduction to Godefroid’s “Etude de Concert”

In this episode I look at the first page of Felix Godefroid’s Etude de Concert in E flat minor. Download the first page with my markings on it here. The full piece can be found at the harp archives here.

I talked a bit about this etude back in Harp Tuesday episode 65: https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-65-la-source-and-etude-de-concert/

And here’s an episode featuring an arrangement for lever harp of the main theme: https://www.harptuesday.com/ep197/

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Ep. 261 – How to play “Deep in the Forest”

In this episode I take a look at “Deep in the Forest”, the first piece from Betty Paret’s “Second Harp Book”.

This lovely little piece contains arpeggios, rolled chords, près de la table, étouffé, harmonics, and a gliss, all within a page and a half!

Some related Harp Tuesday episodes:

Arpeggios
Rolled chords
Open thumb/“étouffé”
Harmonics
Glisses
Thumb slides

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Ep. 259 – How to play “Rondo” from The First Harp Book

Here’s a look at how to play the Rondo from Betty Paret’s First Harp Book. (I have wonderful memories of learning this piece 30+ years ago). It’s great practice for being able to smoothly turn around a 1,2,3,2,1 pattern.
I’ve done several other episodes over the years featuring piece’s from the First Harp Book: https://www.harptuesday.com/category/first-harp-book-by-betty-paret/
If you’re working on music from the First Harp Book, Stephanie Claussen has recorded almost all the pieces from it – an invaluable resource to be able to hear a piece you’re working on: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4JwuCn3bqMlPRnaUa8TqTYS_pypMAy3U

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Ep. 258 – Grossi/Pozzoli exercise no. 1

In this episode I take a look at the first (grade 1/grado 1) exercise from Pozzoli’s “Piccoli Studi facili e progressivi”, found in Maria Grossi’s “Method for Harp” (page 90 in the edition I have).

If you’re looking for exercises the entire book has lots of good material, almost all of which can be played on a lever harp.

If you’re looking for more videos on exercises, check out episode 39: https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-39-exercises-arpeggios-scales-and-more/

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Ep. 257 – An in-depth look at the first movement from Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11

In this episode I take an in-depth look at the first movement (theme and variations) from Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11, transcribed for harp by Alfred Kastner.

Here’s a music video of the first movement:

You can find a copy of Kastner’s arrangement at the harp archives (or IMSLP).

Sign up for my email newsletter to get a copy with my fingering and pedal markings – both as a PDF and as a forScore file (in case you use forScore, which then gives you the option of easily erasing any of my markings you don’t need).

IMSLP has various editions of the piano music, including the first edition – useful to compare and check. And many of the editions include suggestions on how to play the various ornaments and appoggiatura.

I did an episode years ago featuring a very easy arrangement of the first half of the theme from this Sonata, as well as an “into the archives” episode offering a first look at Kastner’s arrangement.

 

Ep. 256 – Left handed/one handed exercises on the harp

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What to do if you have an injury/can’t play with one hand for awhile? I offer up a few ideas, exercises, and pieces, with a focus on the left hand, as it tends to not be as accomplished as the right hand so it can be worth doing some left hand work regardless of whether you can play with both hands or not!

I mention the Lariviere exercises and Bochsa’s 50 etudes – they can both be found at the harp archives.

Ep. 254 – A fundamental finger exercise

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In this episode I demonstrate a fundamental ability on the harp – being able to play any finger while all four fingers are placed in a row.

This can lead to exploring further finger independence work: https://www.harptuesday.com/category/finger-independence/

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Ep. 252 – Practicing harmonics – a harmonic etude

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Harmonics on the harp really benefit from sustained practice, but often pieces only have a few harmonics. In this episode I use a very easy setting of a Bach Chorale that I did several years ago (episode 181) and turn it into an etude for harmonics!

I’ve done many videos on how to play harmonics over the years: https://www.harptuesday.com/harp-tuesday-ep-9/

And here’s the episode on the Bach Chorale – my discussion of the phrasing and dynamics apply whether you’re playing it with harmonics or not! https://www.harptuesday.com/ep181/

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Ep. 251 – Memorizing Zabel’s “The Fountain” (La Source/Am Springbrunnen)

In this final episode of 2022 I attempt to memorize the main theme of Albert Zabel’s beautiful “Am Springbrunnen” (At the Fountain). Sheet music can be found at https://imslp.org/wiki/Am_Springbrunnen%2C_Op.24_(Zabel%2C_Albert)

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Ep. 249 – Bach’s 1st Cello Prelude on the harp (special 12 years of Harp Tuesday episode)

In this special 12th anniversary episode of Harp Tuesday, I show how I play the Prelude of Bach’s 1st Cello Suite with only the left hand. It ends up fitting so nicely, it’s almost as if Bach intended it for the harp and it makes a wonderful left hand exercise 🙂

Download the music for free!

Sign up to my email newsletter to get more free sheet music, and of course lots more music, include other Bach transcriptions, at my online store).

I did a Harpist in the Wild episode featuring the cello prelude:

My original inspiration to try this Prelude with LH only was seeing that Fernando Guerrero had done so. Watch his video here  and he has whole book of movements from the cellos suites arranged for LH only: http://www.arlu.org/arlu.html (click on “publicaciones”).

If you want to play the Prelude on lever harp, it’s one of the pieces in Anne-Marie O’Farrell book of Bach transcriptions.

Ep. 248 – Staccato notes on the harp, featuring Debussy’s “Girl with the Flaxen Hair”.

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In this episode I answer a viewer’s question about playing ascending intervals, and how to make them staccato, specifically in the end of Debussy’s Prelude No. 8 (“La fille aux cheveux de lin/Girl with the Flaxen Hair”).

I’ve done lots of other episodes on muffling and dampening over the years: https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-24-muffling-and-dampening-techniques/

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My music video of the Debussy:

 

Ep. 247 – 4th finger muffling technique

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Here’s a technique that you can use to “slide” your fourth finger along a previously played string to muffle it on the way to playing the string above it. Very useful to have in your bag of tools!

I’ve done lots of other episodes on muffling and dampening over the years: https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-24-muffling-and-dampening-techniques/

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Ep. 245 – Accent! A scale exercise

In this episode I take a look at a scale exercise from Renie’s Method for Harp that works on accenting different fingers – always useful!

Other Harp Tuesday episodes featuring scales: https://www.harptuesday.com/category/scales/

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Ep. 239 – An in-depth look at Marcel Tournier’s Etude de Concert

French harpist and composer Marcel Tournier’s “Etude de Concert” (Au Matin/In the Morning) is a beautiful piece of music that’s also very satisfying to play!

In this episode I offer a few practical suggestions for playing it. Make sure to watch my performance of the Etude here.

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Ep. 238 – Grip the strings – fundamental harp technique.

I love the feeling and sound that gets created by firmly gripping the harp strings – putting quite a bit of one’s fingers on the strings. In this episode I give a close up (and slow motion) look at how far I put my fingers between the strings.

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Ep. 237 – How to prepare an orchestral harp part , featuring “Capriccio Espagnol”.

These days we’re so lucky to have easy access to recordings and the full score when it comes to preparing many orchestral parts. In this video I show how I use these tools to help get ready to perform the harp part to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol”.

While this video is about learning a harp part, I think it’s relevant for any instrument, particularly those that have many bars of rest between playing… 🙂

I make use of this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY2Bt0TppKw which displays the score of “Capriccio Espagnol” as the music is playing – so handy! I also briefly play a small section of this recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rqwvMMxeA8

IMSLP.org is an amazing resource for public domain classical music, and you can find there both the harp part and the full orchestral score to “Capriccio Espagnol”, along with thousands of other pieces.

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Ep. 235 – A simple placing exercise for the harp

This simple (but not easy!) exercise is particularly good for a number of things, but particularly for working on placing all 4 fingers on the way down, rather than walking the fingers down one at a time. Hope you find it useful!

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Ep. 234 – 3 tips for memorizing music

In this episode I talk about three techniques you can use to help to memorize music and demonstrate them in action as I attempt to memorize a piece of music called Cherry Trees at Merchiston written by Isobel Mieras (http://www.isobelmieras.co.uk/) Written originally for the 2020 virtual edition of the Edinburgh Harp Festival, it is available as part of this collection: http://www.creightonscollection.co.uk/Pages/scores/SM/SM668.htm

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Ep. 233 – Being open-minded: finding better solutions when playing music (featuring Jardin Mouillé)

I believe it always pays to keep an open mind – even when playing a piece of music you know extremely well. There’s always a chance there might be an even better way of doing something!

This happened recently to me in a short section from a piece on which I’m working (Jaques de la Presle’s “Jardin Mouillé”). In this episode I demonstrate both my new and old approaches, as well as talking more generally about the benefits of keeping an open mind and cultivating an ability to change the way you play something!

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Ep. 232 – An in-depth look at Au Bord Du Ruisseau by Henriette Renié

“Au bord du ruisseau” (By the stream, or on the banks of the stream) is a short, beautiful piece by the Henriette Renié, a monumental figure in the classical harp world.

Henriette Renié (1876-1956) had a tremendous impact through her teaching, but also through her compositions. Read more about her life at:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henriette_Reni%C3%A9

Henriette Renie: A pioneer in the world of the harp (Masters thesis) https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/17034

Short article: https://hcommons.org/?get_group_doc=1003852/1623174466-HenrietteReniLgende.pdf

CBC podcast: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-428-in-concert-on-demand/clip/15882542-the-revival-hour-138-henriette-renie

I recorded Renié’s “Legende” on my album “Passage: music for solo harp”.

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Ep. 231 – what is the difference between 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures?

The time signatures of 3/4 and 6/8 both contain a total of six 8th notes. So what is the difference between them?? This is a question I’ve often been asked by students, and in this video I attempt to answer. (Quick answer – 3/4 has 3 beats or pulses per bar, and 6/8 only has 2 beats).

For further reading, the wikipedia page on time signatures is a good starting place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_signature

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Ep. 229 – Refining and shaping a piece of music (featuring Le Jardin Mouillé)

Recording yourself and listening back is such a powerful way to help polish and refine a piece. In this episode I look at a small section from Presle’s “Jardin Mouillé” that I want to try and improve.

I’ve done two other episodes on the process of learning Jardin Mouillé – https://www.harptuesday.com/ep217/

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Ep. 228 – A 1 minute chord exercise!

Happy New Year! To start off the year, here’s a short exercise that is a great candidate to turn into a daily goal for 2022.

Want to hear more about my thoughts on goals, process, and more? Watch this conversation with Victoria at Talking Harps: https://youtu.be/XiuWoEmfF3M

I’ve covered many other aspects of playing chords in various Harp Tuesday episodes: https://www.harptuesday.com/category/chords/

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Ep. 225 – Finger independence featuring Nordic Spaces

Placing all four fingers but only playing 2 at a time – featuring a section from my composition Nordic Spaces.

This type of finger independence can be extremely handy! For more, check out Harp Tuesday episode 23, plus page 32 from Betty Paret’s First Harp Book and/or the first set of the Lariviere exercises.

Sheet music for Nordic Spaces is available at https://www.joshlayne.com/store/?product=nordic-spaces-downloadable-sheet-music-pdf

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Ep. 224 – how to play open thumb/“étouffé”

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I demonstrate how to play open thumb/“étouffé” notes – useful for muffling and/or for getting a staccato sound.

I’ve done many other Harp Tuesday episodes on muffling.

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Ep. 223 – how to play Aurum Aqua

A look at how to play Aurum Aqua, a short piece featuring downwards arpeggios in the style of Hasselman’s La Source or Pratt’s The Little Fountain.

Susan Dahl Graham, the composer, has made the sheet music available for free! Download it here.

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And make sure to watch the Harpist in the Wild episode featuring Aurum Aqua:

 

Ep. 221 – Harp placement rules – only place in one direction

In this episode I attempt to clearly define the harp fingering rule of only placing in one direction/not playing out of order and demonstrate what that means in practice using Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C Major.

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Ep. 220 – Harp fingering principles, featuring “The Wind that Shakes the Barley”

A look at harp fingering principles, through the lens of figuring out fingerings for a traditional Irish reel – The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

Want a copy of the leadsheet with my final fingerings? Get it for free (plus a bunch of other music) by signing up for my email newsletter! https://mailchi.mp/bcfffee4008e/barleyleadsheet

https://thesession.org/ is a fantastic free resource for traditional Irish music.

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Ep. 218 – An Arpeggio Drill

In this episode I demonstrate how to use a metronome that is gradually speeding up to practice arpeggios. Also check out this episode on arpeggios: https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-39-exercises-arpeggios-scales-and-more/

The metronome I’m using is “pro metronome”:
Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.eumlab.android.prometronome

Apple https://apps.apple.com/us/app/pro-metronome-tempo-beat-subdivision-polyrhythm/id477960671

I did a similar episode featuring rolled chords: https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-185-rolled-chord-drills/

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Ep. 215 – How many strings should you get when buying a pedal harp?

How big a pedal harp do you need? In response to a viewer’s question, I thought I’d offer a few thoughts on whether to get a full-sized pedal harp or something smaller. (Answer – it depends!)

I use the Virginia Harp Center’s website as a handy reference for current US prices for Lyon and Healy, Salvi, and Camac: https://www.vaharpcenter.com/

I mention Tyrolean single-action harps as an interesting option for some people. Here’s a harp maker’s website: http://www.muernseer.at/en/harp/

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Ep. 214 – Playing descending thirds with a thumb slide

In this short technique episode, I give a look at how to playing descending 2 note chords (3rds, 6ths, etc.) using a thumb slide – a technique that opens up the possibility of more speed than playing each chord individually.

You can also check out the in-depth episode I did on slides almost 10 years ago! https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-27-slides/

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Ep. 213 – Easy harp music – how to play “Night Song”.

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I take a look at a short piece from Betty Paret’s “First Harp Book”. “Night Song” is a beautiful piece, and great practice for right hand chords (3rds and 6ths).

I could resist a beautiful June day, and took Harp Tuesday outside! This also ties in with my new series, Harpist in the Wild. Episode 2 (A Baroque Feast) is about to wrap up, with the season finale on June 5. More at https://www.harpistinthewild.com/

Paret’s “First Harp Book” is an excellent book with some nice music and great fingerings. You should be able to find it at your favorite local music store, or online for example at https://www.harpcenter.com/product/paret-first-harp-book/harp-music-books-betty-paret

Support from my patrons helped make this video possible: https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 212 – Into the Archives! A look at Godefroid’s“Mystérieux Vallon”.

Another “into the archives” episode, where I take a look at a piece of music from the International Harp Archives. In this case it’s a lovely little piece by Felix Godefroid called the “Mysterious Valley“.

Requested by a viewer, I wasn’t familiar with this piece but I really enjoyed reading through it, and as well as introducing it to you I offer up some ideas on how to approach a piece when you’re first learning it.

You can find the sheet music for free at https://archive.org/details/pensesmusicale01gode/page/20/mode/2up

You can also download a copy with my pedal markings here. (And while you’re at it, perhaps sign up for my email newsletter!).

Support from my patrons helped make this video possible: https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 210 – Practicing “Le Jardin Mouillé”

A chance to watch how I go about practicing a section from Presle’s beautiful “Le Jardin Mouillé”. I always think we need more options to watch people practice, rather than just seeing the finished product. Hope you find this interesting!

Sheet music can be found for free at the harp archives at https://archive.org/details/lejardinmouill00lapr/page/n3/mode/2up

Ep. 207 – An in-depth look at Godefroid’s Fantasie on Schubert’s “Ständchen”

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I take a look at Felix Godefroid’s beautiful take on Schubert’s “Ständchen” or “Serenade“. Here’s a live performance of it from 2016:

The music can be found for free at the Harp Archives: https://archive.org/details/colemlodique05gode/page/2/mode/2up

Here’s an episode I did on playing 2 against 3 –https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-124-playing-2-vs-3-rhythms-in-debussys-1st-arabesque/

Support from my patrons helped make this video possible: https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 200 – How I did I get started playing the harp? My harp origin story

Happy Birthday, Harp Tuesday!

This episode is special not only because it’s episode 200, but also because Harp Tuesday turns 10 years old today! Ten years ago on Dec. 1, 2010, I uploaded the very first episode of Harp Tuesday. (https://www.harptuesday.com/ep1/)

Support from my patrons has been invaluable over these past few years. You can become my patron and support the work I do on YouTube at: https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 199 – A virtual duet! Renié’s “Les pins de Charlannes”

A special virtual duet episode of Harp Tuesday! I’ve uploaded myself playing the 2nd harp part to Henriette Renié’s beautiful duet, “Les pins de Charlannes” and I invite you to play the 1st harp part along with me!

Sheet music can be found at IMSLP: https://imslp.org/wiki/Les_pins_de_Charlannes_(Reni%C3%A9%2C_Henriette)

I did a similar idea many years ago (in 2013!) for the Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria”: https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-52-ave-maria-duet/

Support from my patrons helped make this video possible: https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 192 – Playing a left hand harmonic+chord (at the same time)

How to play a left hand chord with a harmonic on top. I talk about the various chords+harmonics in Godefroid’s take on “The Last Rose of Summer”.

The pedal harp sheet music can be found at https://archive.org/details/ladernirerosedtm00gode/page/2/mode/2up

I’ve arranged it for lever harp as part of my new book, “Transcriptions for Lever Harp”: https://www.joshlayne.com/store/?product=transcriptions-for-lever-harp-volume-1-downloadable-sheet-music-pdf

More videos on harmonics: https://www.harptuesday.com/harp-tuesday-ep-9/

Support from my patrons helped make this video possible: https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 191 – How to play Xylophonic sounds on the harp

What are “Xylophonic Sounds” on the harp and how do you play them? Find out in this episode of Harp Tuesday 🙂

My new composition, “Uncharted Shores“, features some xylophonic sounds, as does my composition Forgotten Summer.

Uncharted Shores:
Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og_yuRQz934
Sheet Music: https://www.joshlayne.com/store/?product=uncharted-shores-downloadable-sheet-music-pdf

Forgotten Summer:
Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWhDpSrGUDo
Sheet Music: https://www.joshlayne.com/store/?product=five-solos-for-lever-harp-downloadable-sheet-music-pdf

Support from my patrons helped make this video possible: https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 190 – How to play the opening Mordent from Bach’s Toccata and Fugue

The mordent that starts the Toccata and Fugue in D minor is one of the most recognizable openings in all of classical music. In this episode of Harp Tuesday I talk about two possible fingerings – one that I feel is ideal for this type of pattern, and the other, that I ultimately ended up using 🙂

Watch my performance of the Toccata and Fugue:

Buy the sheet music at https://www.joshlayne.com/bachtoccata/

Ep. 188 – A look at “Farewell to Stromness”

Farewell to Stromness is part of the “Yellow Cake Revue” – a set of songs plus two piano interludes (Farewell to Stromness being one) that Sir Peter Maxwell Davies wrote to protest a proposed uranium mine on the Orkney islands in 1980.

Written for the piano, I think it works beautifully on the harp (thanks to a viewer for the suggestion!). In this episode of Harp Tuesday I talk about some of the fingerings and other things I’ve done to adapt it for the harp.

Ep. 187 – A look at Hasselman’s “Chanson de Mai”

A look at Hasselman’s beautiful “Chanson de Mai” (Song of May), freely available at the International Harp Archives.

[EDIT – I have come to believe that in the arpeggio section that starts with the second to last page, the 2nd bar is missing a flat symbol in front of the Cs, and they are in fact played as B natural. Here’s an updated version with pedal markings].

Click here for my annotated copy with pedal markings, etc. (Keep in mind that I wrote these marks on my iPad, so somewhat sloppy – you may want to print out a clean copy from the Harp Archives and transfer my markings over instead).

While you’re here, consider signing up for my email newsletter – you’ll get a bunch of other free music! 🙂

Ep. 186 – What is musical phrasing?

A look at one of the most important part of music – phrasing, or the space between the notes! In this episode I analyze three different recordings of a bar from Chopin’s Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 2 to try to make clear what I mean when I’m talking about phrasing.

This episode is a followup to a couple of recent blog posts about listening.
Part 1 https://www.joshlayne.com/blog/focused-listening-part-one/
Part 2 https://www.joshlayne.com/blog/listeningpart2/

Ep. 185 – Rolled Chord Drills

Play along with me as I do some rolled (broken) chord practice on the harp!

I’m using a metronome app called Pro Metronome (thanks to viewer Keven for his suggestion!) and its “practice mode” to very gradually speed up the pace. Link below, though note that practice mode is a paid upgrade. Do you have a favorite app that does something similar? Let me know in the comments!

Android link
Apple link

Ep. 184 – Learning “Down by the Salley Gardens” by ear

I thought I’d do something a little different today and try and teach (and learn myself!) a tune by ear. A beautiful Irish tune known by a number of different names – Down by the Salley Gardens (or Sally Gardens), Maids of Mourne Shore, The Foggy Dew, etc.

While it kind of defeats the purpose (of learning it by ear) if you’d like a free copy of the music with my fingerings, sign up for my newsletter

(Existing subscribers, email me and I’ll send you a copy!)

Ep. 183 – Problem solving – a look at ‘Alla Turca Jazz’

Here’s a look at 6 spots in “Alla Turca Jazz” where I ended up changing my fingering or otherwise problem solving in order to play it better!

Ekaterina Afanasieva’s excellent arrangement of Fazil Say’s “Alla Turca Jazz” is an irresistible piece to play (based on the iconic last movement from Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11, K. 331).

The sheet music is available at https://en.schott-music.com/shop/alla-turca-jazz-no354991.html

Ep. 181 – An easy Bach “Chorale” – phrasing and dynamics

An easy Bach “Chorale” gives me an opportunity to talk about phrasing and dynamics!

If you’d like the sheet music for this easy harp arrangement of “Erkenne mich, mein Hüter” from Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, just sign up for my email newsletter and I’ll send you a copy 🙂

Ep. 180 – 8 note chord progressions

A look at eight note (four notes per hand) chord progressions, using the opening of Naderman’s First Sonata as an example. (You can find the sheet at the harp archives).

Such a useful thing to automatically be able to do! Here are a few other Harp Tuesday episodes that touch on chords and chord progressions: https://www.harptuesday.com/category/chords/

Ep. 171 – From the archives – a look at Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 arr. for harp

I recently came across a transcription of Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 arranged for harp by a harpist called Alfred Kastner. He did an excellent job with it – join me as I take a look through the first movement in the 2nd in a series I’m calling “From the Archives” as I highlight sheet music from the harp archives.

If you’d like a copy of my current pedal and fingering markings (still a work in progress!) sign up for my email list and I’ll send you a copy (plus you get to stay up-to-date on what I’m doing).

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://archive.org/details/petiteberceusepo00hass/page/2/mode/2up

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. 157 – From the Harp Archives – “The Last Rose of Summer”

Here’s the start of a new type of video: From the Harp Archives. A quick look/read through of a piece of public domain music that I feel is worth highlighting. In this case, it’s Felix Godefroid’s beautiful setting of “The Last Rose of Summer”

You can view and download the sheet music at https://archive.org/details/ladernirerosedtm00gode/page/2

And the Harp Archives in general can be found at https://archive.org/details/byuinternationalharparchive

Like this idea of “From the Harp Archives”? Let me know in the comments!

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


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 137 Composing for the harp – pedal markings and pedal charts

In this composer-centric episode I talk about pedal change, pedal markings, and pedal charts. As a composer, should you include these in your scores/parts? Answer – it depends 🙂

Hopefully helpful and interesting to composers and non-composers alike! Questions? Email me at info@joshlayne.com

I use my arrangement of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring as one of my examples – find the sheet music here.

Ep 132 Learning Labarre’s “Caprice”

My music video of “Caprice”

Slow Motion Monday video:

I fell in love with this song many years ago listening to a Zabaleta recording. Couldn’t find the sheet music at the time, but was thrilled to finally track it down a few years ago online at the harp archives

Labarre’s “Caprice” (as recorded by Zabaleta) is No. 7 from his “Grande étude pour la harpe : composée de huit caprices : op. 30”

All 8 etudes can be found here: https://archive.org/details/grandetudepour00laba

You can sign up to my email newsletter to get access to my fingerings and pedal markings – (existing subscribers can follow this link as well)

The Harp Archives are a tremendous resources: https://archive.org/details/byuinternationalharparchive

Ep 129 How to play fast – Salzedo’s Seguidilla

In this episode I take a look at Carlos Salzedo’s “Seguidilla” from his suite of eight dances. I give some tips on it in general, and then talk about playing fast and offer some ideas and ways to work on speed.

I also made a version of this episode which shows the sheet music onscreen as I talk about it, though the video quality is worse overall. You can watch it below:

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. 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. 106-107 An in-depth look at Songs of Nymphs by Marjan Mozetich

A two part look at Canadian composer Marjan Mozetich’s beautiful harp solo “Songs of Nymphs“. Written for Erica Goodman in 1988 with the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council, Songs of Nymphs is made up of four songs, or movements:

Prelude
Reflection
Ritual
Freedom


I love playing this work, and recorded it in 2001 on my CD Masterworks for Harp

Here are videos from two of my performances of Songs of Nymphs:

You can buy the sheet music at https://www.musiccentre.ca/node/13668 Also check out http://www.mozetich.com/

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. 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. 95 Looking at Prokofiev’s Prelude in C, Op12, No. 7

In this edition of Harp Tuesday I take a look at Prokofiev’s wonderful Prelude in C, Op. 12, No. 7.

I played this as part of a my livestream concert on August 2nd (2015).

IMSLP has the preludes, though depending on where you live they may or may not be public domain.

In 1997 I recorded the Prelude on my CD “An Afternoon of Harp Music

Ep. 91 Experimenting with phrasing in Grandjany’s “Rhapsodie”

In this episode I look at a very small section from Marcel Grandjany’s composition “Rhapsodie” and talk about and play around with different ways of phrasing it.

In many ways what it boils down to is first figuring out how you want it to sound (in your head) and then working on being able to play it that way on your instrument…

Ep. 83-86 A look at Handel’s “Harp Concerto”

In these episodes I give an in-depth look at Handel’s Concerto for Harp, including Grandjany’s extended cadenza.

I learned and play the Grandjany edition, but you can find the original on IMSLP




One of the very first videos I ever uploaded on YouTube was the Grandjany Cadenza:

And here are two performances of the entire concerto:

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?) Dalvimare variations

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

Get free sheet music and stay up-to-date on what I’m doing by signing up to my email newsletter!

Support from my patrons helped make this video possible – if you would like to help support future videos you can become a patron at https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 73 A look at Godefroid’s “La Danse des Sylphes”

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I take a quick look at the end of Felix Godefroid’s “La Danse des Sylphes”

A very fun piece to play 🙂

You can watch the last couple minutes in a video I just recorded:

Or a live performance of the entire piece from 2007:

I also recorded it in my 1997 CD “An Afternoon of Harp Music

If you’re interested in learning the piece it appears to be available on archive.org

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. 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. While you’re here, consider signing up to my email newsletter. It’s the best way to stay up-to-date on what I’m doing, plus you get some free sheet music! (And you can always check out my other sheet music available at my online store).

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. 55 Pedal Changes!

In this episode of Harp Tuesday I take a look at pedal changes, with a bird’s eye view of how I change pedals, plus a simple exercise to help familiarize your feet with the pedals!

The piece I play at the end is the 2nd half of the Gigue from Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825.

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

Ep. 10 How to change a string

How to change a harp string:

I later did a follow up to this episode, plus an episode on changing wire strings:


And low octave gut strings:

I also did a live-stream of changing the strings on my lever harp:

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Ep. 9 Harmonics

In this episode I talk about harmonics:

Over the years I’ve done a bunch of further videos on harmonics:

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Ep. 8 Broken/rolled chords

In this episode I talk about how to play one of the quintessential sounds on the harp – the rolled or broken chord:

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Ep. 7 Your second harp lesson!

Your second harp lesson. In this episode I talk about playing multiple notes at the same time (chords) and some fingering basics (connecting, etc.)


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Ep. 6 Pedal changes + changing two pedals with one foot

In this episode I look at pedals changes, and how you can change two pedals with one foot. (Plus a follow up video)


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Ep. 5 How to tune your harp + How to read music

In this episode I cover two topics – tuning your harp and learning to read music. I’ve also included the conclusion to my look at learning to read music, Harp Tuesday ep. 80


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Ep. 4 Your first harp lesson!

Your first harp lesson! I talk about some basics to get you started playing the harp:







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Ep. 3 John Rutter’s Dancing Day – part 2

A look at John Rutter’s Dancing Day – part 2

I was still working on the format of Harp Tuesday and was splitting everything into shorter videos. Also, sound balance is not great – you may find you need headphones while listening.




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Ep. 2 John Rutter’s Dancing Day

A look at John Rutter’s Dancing Day – part 1

I was still working on the format of Harp Tuesday and was splitting everything into shorter videos. Also, sound balance is not great – you may find you need headphones while listening.






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Support from my patrons helps make continued Harp Tuesday episodes possible – if you would like to help support future videos you can become a patron at https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne

Ep. 1 Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols

November 29, 2010 – Episode 1 – An in-depth look at Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. The first ever Harp Tuesday! I ended up re-uploading this after adjusting the audio levels – I’ve linked to that version, but you can still find the original on my YouTube channel.












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Support from my patrons helps make continued Harp Tuesday episodes possible – if you would like to help support future videos you can become a patron at https://www.patreon.com/joshlayne