Live Harp Lesson 36: directional placing for beginners

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If you liked the Prelude in C Major from last week, but you feel that the piece is too advanced for you at this stage – today’s lesson is for you! We will look at the basics of directional placing and working out the bracketing as well as what to do with the fingers in potentially tricky passages.

Some announcements

A piece of info for those of you who downloaded the PDF with exercises from last week: there was a small mistake in the section on chords – a G-B-F chord should be played with fingers 4-3-1, not 4-2-1. You can now download the corrected version of the file from subscribers’ area.

About today’s piece

Today’s piece is Pentland Hills by Anne Macdearmid.

You can buy the digital copy of the piece here or – if you would like a whole book with syllabus for Scottish Music grade 1 – order a physical copy of the book here.

Music from 5’19”.

About Pentland Hills

A regional park where you can experience the beauty of Scottish landscape within easy reach from Edinburgh, without the need to drive. Absolutely amazing place – a must see when visiting the city. If you arrive at main train station (Edinburgh Waverley) hop on 44 bus to Balerno and stay until the last stop, then just walk a few minutes and enjoy the amazing views (including sheep freely roaming around 🐑).

Hiking in Pentland Hills
About directional placing

1) Marking placing (brackets)

Fingers going in one direction go under one bracket. That will show you overlapping brackets when you need to make a turn. Check the PDF for examples.

2) Navigating turns

Before you arrive at the overlapping brackets, prepare fingers for what happens after the turn and place them on the strings.

3) Strategic practice

When putting hands together, focus on one thing at a time. Let go of other sections if there are a few overlapping brackets in close proximity and focus just on placing for the turns. In the example show in the PDF you will see the notes that you can let go of being marked in light grey.

Watch the lesson

If you liked today’s lesson, do let me know in the comments! And if you know someone who learns to play the harp, share this video with them, help them get better too!

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Live Harp Lessons: series of free tutorials for beginner and intermediate harpists

Every Friday at 11:00 (UK time).