Live 25: Introduction to arranging for the harp

with No Comments
Have you tried arranging any pieces for the harp? If yes, was there anything you found tricky? If not, was there any particular reason that stopped you from doing it?
Today I’m breaking down this process into 3 simple steps, and I am showing you how this works in practice, using my newest Christmas Carols collection as an example.
Polish Christmas Carols
The collection will be out in exactly one week, on 15 November! You will be able to download it instantly as soon as you buy it, on the same day.
The Carols are out!

All subscribers are able to download the free PDF with extra materials from the lesson on arranging, which today is packed with lots of useful tips and examples! Sign up here to access.
Step no 1: Melody
You will need to decide on:
– time signature (does it have a feel of 2, 3, 4?)
– rhythm (crotchets or quavers? they may have different feeling)
– key signature (not too high, not too low)
Step no 2: Harmony
As with arranging in general, you are likely to find that being able to read and notate the music will be extremely useful.
With harmony, the knowledge of the basics of music theory and main chords will make your work a lot simpler.
  • chords of tonic (1st), subdominant (4th) and dominant (5th). There are many more but at the beginning you will be perfectly fine with sticking to those 3 and as you get more confident, you can explore further.
  • important info about the minor key chords
  • can you hear the chords changing in the carol that I am playing? Try to look at the excerpt in the PDF and see if you can tell which chords (tonic, subdominant or dominant) I am using.
Step no 3: Balance
When working on melody and harmony, I simplify things for myself and assign melody to right hand and harmony to left hand. Later I am working out how to balance the two between the hands.
  • look one more time at the example above: can you see that I am only putting 2 notes in the left hand, not 3? that’s because right hand includes some of the notes in the melody.
  • trick for fast songs with lots of notes and how your left hand can help with the melody while still doing its “harmony job”.
Remember that apart from the excerpts that you hear today, you can download one of the carols for FREE. All these free extras are available for everyone who signed up onto the waiting list!

Watch the video from the lesson

Series of mini-lessons for beginner and intermediate harpists

Watch every Friday at 11:00 am UK time