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  • What is this technique

  • Donald Barron

    Member
    24 June, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    So i stumbled on this video. She does a few quite interesting things in this video my main question was what is this technique at the timestamp the video starts(she does it a few times in the piece)? It starts of looking like a glissando but it sounds so harsh and she ends up going so fast it kind starts to sort of look like shes strumming the strings like a guitar. Is this “just” a really fast really harsh series of glissando’s or is this some other technique i have never seen before.

  • Donald Barron

    Member
    24 June, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    Here is another section

    https://youtu.be/Jaa61NZoqqM

    is this just what glissandos look like when you reach level 99 on the harp.

  • Victoria Johnson

    Member
    25 June, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Donald! I am no expert on this so don’t quote me on it! In DHC’s Baroque Flamenco, there are sounds that were produced with finger nails. There was strumming at the beginning of the piece and the down-strum has a very similar sound to what Valerie did. There were also some finger nail glisses and strumming in the cadenza that looks and sounds very similar. You can see those in this performance of Baroque Flamenco by Josh Layne. I time-stamped it to start at at the strumming section of the cadenza. The finger nail glisses were at around 4:50. Trying to find the fingernail gloss https://youtu.be/c2VCKga8FJk?t=215

  • Victoria Johnson

    Member
    25 June, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Another thing of note is that Carlos Salzedo like to use extended techniques in his pieces. Here is a Harp Tuesday episode where Josh looked at a Salzedo piece called Fraicheur, which is a classic study of glissandi. I wouldn’t be surprised if the glissando technique in Scintillation is used in this piece as well: https://youtu.be/BI5-nZ1X81g

    • Donald Barron

      Member
      26 June, 2021 at 1:54 am

      Thanks @victoria.johnson . Both videos sound amazing.. I feel like you have pointed me in the right direction. In DHC’s flamenco he was actually holding down string with one hand and strumming with the other just as you would do with a guitar.

      I think these are probably a bit advanced for me at the moment but I will definitely be trying them out when I am having a bit of fun.

      I normally keep my fingernails as short as possible because I find fingernails get in the way a little particularly when crossing over ‘up’ the harp but maybe from these videos I shouldn’t be quite so religious about it.

      • Victoria Johnson

        Member
        26 June, 2021 at 6:22 am

        At the beginning of the piece, DHC describes the technique as “isolation glisses” with up-strums and down-strums. You are damping certain strings with the left hand and the right hand is strumming the free strings, in her own words. The up and down direction is where the hand would go. The down-strums are done with fingernails, where as the up-strums are down with the fingertips. And the fingernail glisses in the cadenza (which I think is a pretty standard extended technique) is essentially a gliss played with fingernails, notated in sheet music usually with a crescent moon shape symbol (http://harpnotation.com/notation-manual/plucked-sounds/nail/#notation).

    • Donald Barron

      Member
      26 June, 2021 at 2:00 am

      @victoria.johnson I’m just curious have you tried any of the above techniques? and if so what was your experience.

      They seem like their usage might be quite niche.

      • Victoria Johnson

        Member
        26 June, 2021 at 6:32 am

        Baroque Flamenco comes in three versions. I learned the intermediate version (for pedal harp or Eb lever harp) on my lever harp; the one Josh Layne played was the advanced version (for pedal harp). “Fraicheur” is in the queue; I haven’t got to it yet. Salzedo is a harpist and composer; he wrote a lot of pieces with harp extended techniques to show off the harp as an instrument. You have seen “Scintillation” and “Fraicheur”; “Chanson dans la Nuit” is another great example: https://youtu.be/mCdgtqdDUHI

        In my (rather limited) experience, these techniques are specific to the harp, and I have only come across them in pieces that were composed specifically for the harp, usually by harpists (because they know these techniques!). For example, in a piece called “Autumn Labyrinth” composed by Josh Layne, he did a fingernail gliss on the part of the string between the tuning peg and the pedal discs (https://youtu.be/0rWQR6tHsEo?t=61 time-stamped to start at the fingernail gliss).

      • Victoria Johnson

        Member
        26 June, 2021 at 6:46 am

        In terms of playing them, they are “different”. 😆 (That’s one way of putting it?! LOL!!) It took me a while to get used to the fingernail strumming and fingernail gliss in Baroque Flamenco.

        • Donald Barron

          Member
          30 June, 2021 at 3:15 pm

          @victoria.johnson Thank you for your comprehensive answer. I sounds like there is a lot to be learned from playing Salzedo, DHC and other harp composers music. I think i might try and do a bit of research see what sheet music there is out there for lever harp using those techniques and pick one of the easier ones as a starter. From what you have said Josh Layne’s site might be a good place to start.

          • Victoria Johnson

            Member
            30 June, 2021 at 5:31 pm

            @donald.barron There is something to be said about playing harp music that were written by harpists! They tend to fit the hands better, and you get to play harp extended techniques that you wouldn’t come across on, say, piano sheet music.

            The sheet music for the two pieces that Josh Layne wrote with the finger nail gliss are not available yet, although one should be available in the coming months and it can be played on lever harp. From his collection, here are some of the lever harp pieces that are great for starting on harp techniques:

            Forgotten Summer (from Five Solos for Lever Harp – https://www.joshlayne.com/store/?product=five-solos-for-lever-harp-downloadable-sheet-music-pdf) – harmonics and xylophonic sound

            Fur Elise (from Five Solos for Lever Harp) – great first piece for practicing lever changes (though there are two other pieces in the book with lever changes as well if you would like more practice!)

            The Bach’s Toccata in D Minor lever harp arrangement (https://www.joshlayne.com/store/?product=bachs-toccata-in-d-minor-bwv-565-arranged-for-lever-harp-downloadable-sheet-music-pdf) is very well done and sounds impressive. Plenty of lever change opportunities. I am a big proponent of practicing lever changes early on and get comfortable with doing them. Being able to change levers comfortably during a piece opens up so many musical possibilities for the lever harp!

            DHC’s Baroque Flamenco (https://gumroad.com/l/pLpH) has plenty of interesting extended techniques. The sheet music comes in three versions that is suitable for a range of skill levels and harps. (Only the advanced version requires a pedal harp.)

            <font face=”inherit”>Bernard Andres is another one to look into; he uses a lot of extended techniques in his pieces such as Pistachio from his collection “Epices.” (https://www.harptuesday.com/ep-109-pistachio-by-bernard-andres/) Many people plays his pieces from “Dances Dautomne” as well. Check to make sure whichever sheet music you purchase is for lever harp since he also composes for pedal harp.</font>

            Many of the Carols Salzedo pieces require pedal harp as far as I can tell. I just got my pedal harp two weeks ago and I haven’t started on any of his pieces yet. I will ask my teacher if there are any of his pieces with extended techniques that would be playable on the lever harp.

            Have fun!!

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