Guide to the Contemporary Harp
170 pages
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Guide to the Contemporary Harp

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170 pages
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Description

Harps and harp music have enjoyed a renaissance over the past century and today can be heard in a broad array of musical contexts. Guide to the Contemporary Harp is a comprehensive resource that examines the vibrant present-day landscape of the harp. The authors explore the instrument from all angles, beginning with organology; moving through composition, notation, and playing techniques; and concluding with the contemporary repertoire for the harp. The rapid diversification in these areas of harp performance is the result of both technological innovations in harp making, which have produced the electric harp and MIDI harp, and innovative composers and players. These new instruments and techniques have broadened the concept of what is possible and what constitutes harp music for today. Guide to the Contemporary Harp is an essential guide for any harpist looking to push the instrument and its music to new heights.


Preface


Acknowledgements


Introduction



1. Organology


I. Historical Reminders


II. The Pedal Harp


General Characteristics


The Parts of the Harp


The Strings


The Pedals and the Modulation Mechanism


"Using the Pedals"


Pedal Notation


Playing the Harp


III. The Lever Harp


General Characteristics


The Strings


Levers and the Modulation Mechanism


Playing the Lever Harp


IV. Electric Harps


The Electroacoustic Harp


The Electric Harp


The Electric-Acoustic Harp


V. Some 21st Century Creations


The MIDI Harp


The Automatic Harp



2. Writing and Language


I. Notations


Measured Notation


Unmeasured Notation


Proportional Notation


Introduction of the Aleatory Element (Indeterminacy)


Open Works


Combination of Several Notations


Superposition of Different Tempi


Writing on Several Staves


Writing with Another System than the Five-Line Stave


Graphic Scores


II. Dramatized Writings


Micro-Choreography, Theatrical Gestures


Dramaturgic Use of the Voice


Use of the Sung Voice, with No Theatrical Indication


Use of the Spoken and/or the Sung Voice with No Text


III. Mixed Forms of Music


Some Works for Harp and Extensions



3. Playing Techniques


I. Timbre


"Près de la table" (Near the Soundboard)


"Bas dans les cordes" (Low in the Strings)


"Près des chevilles" (Near the Tuning Pins)


Harmonic Sound


Sound Using the Fingernail


Koto Sound


Plucked Sound


Vibrated Sound


Portando From One Pitch to Another


Xylo Sound


Pizzicato (Pizz.)


Bartók Pizzicato


Normal Position


Bisbigliando


Tone-Color Melody (Klangfarbenmelodie)


II. Glissandi, Chords and Clusters


Single Glissando


Fast Glissando


Multiple Glissando


Pitchless Glissandi


Flat, Broken, Arpeggiated/Rolled Chords


Cluster Glissando


Rasgueado


Cluster Glissando with Thunder Effect


Cluster


Muffled Cluster


Tremolo Cluster


Aeolian Cluster


Various Forms of Rubbing


III. Resonances, muffles and silences


Muffles


Let Vibrate


Fermata


IV. Hits on the harp


Different Types of Hits


Which Part of the Harp to Hit?


Composers Who Have Elaborated a Detailed Notation for Hits


V. Wire strings


Whistling Sound (with the Palm of the Hand)


Wired Sound (Grabbing a Wire String with the fingers)


Scrape with a Nail or a Plectrum


Buzz


Thunder Effect


Sustained Thunder Effect


VI. Pedals and Levers


Pedal Glissando


Pedal Trill


Rhythmic Effect with Pedals


Pedal Movement Ad Libitum with Sound Effect


Pedal Buzz


Resonant Pedal Sound


Levers


Thunder Effect


VII. Using Objects


Metal Rod


Stick


Use of Percussion Instruments by the Harpist


Bow


Electronic Bow


Plectrum


Other Objects


Prepared Harp


Inserting Materials Between the Strings (Foam, Paper, Cardboard, Textile, Rubber, Elastic Band, etc.)


VIII. Scordatura


Pedal Harp


Lever Harp


Two Harps


Conclusion


Significant Landmarks


List of Notations


Bibliography


The History of Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries


Contemporary Notation


Musical Instruments, The Orchestra


The Harp


Internet Sites


Repertoire of Works for Harp


Solo Harp


Harp and Extensions


Lever Harp


Lever Harp and Extensions


Duets and Harp Ensembles


Concertos


Duets


Trios


Quartets and More


Ensembles and Extensions


Index of Composers Quoted


Index of Playing Techniques

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 11 février 2019
Nombre de lectures 5
EAN13 9780253039415
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0037€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait


Pedal Notation


Playing the Harp


III. The Lever Harp


General Characteristics


The Strings


Levers and the Modulation Mechanism


Playing the Lever Harp


IV. Electric Harps


The Electroacoustic Harp


The Electric Harp


The Electric-Acoustic Harp


V. Some 21st Century Creations


The MIDI Harp


The Automatic Harp



2. Writing and Language


I. Notations


Measured Notation


Unmeasured Notation


Proportional Notation


Introduction of the Aleatory Element (Indeterminacy)


Open Works


Combination of Several Notations


Superposition of Different Tempi


Writing on Several Staves


Writing with Another System than the Five-Line Stave


Graphic Scores


II. Dramatized Writings


Micro-Choreography, Theatrical Gestures


Dramaturgic Use of the Voice


Use of the Sung Voice, with No Theatrical Indication


Use of the Spoken and/or the Sung Voice with No Text


III. Mixed Forms of Music


Some Works for Harp and Extensions



3. Playing Techniques


I. Timbre


"Près de la table" (Near the Soundboard)


"Bas dans les cordes" (Low in the Strings)


"Près des chevilles" (Near the Tuning Pins)


Harmonic Sound


Sound Using the Fingernail


Koto Sound


Plucked Sound


Vibrated Sound


Portando From One Pitch to Another


Xylo Sound


Pizzicato (Pizz.)


Bartók Pizzicato


Normal Position


Bisbigliando


Tone-Color Melody (Klangfarbenmelodie)


II. Glissandi, Chords and Clusters


Single Glissando


Fast Glissando


Multiple Glissando


Pitchless Glissandi


Flat, Broken, Arpeggiated/Rolled Chords


Cluster Glissando


Rasgueado


Cluster Glissando with Thunder Effect


Cluster


Muffled Cluster


Tremolo Cluster


Aeolian Cluster


Various Forms of Rubbing


III. Resonances, muffles and silences


Muffles


Let Vibrate


Fermata


IV. Hits on the harp


Different Types of Hits


Which Part of the Harp to Hit?


Composers Who Have Elaborated a Detailed Notation for Hits


V. Wire strings


Whistling Sound (with the Palm of the Hand)


Wired Sound (Grabbing a Wire String with the fingers)


Scrape with a Nail or a Plectrum


Buzz


Thunder Effect


Sustained Thunder Effect


VI. Pedals and Levers


Pedal Glissando


Pedal Trill


Rhythmic Effect with Pedals


Pedal Movement Ad Libitum with Sound Effect


Pedal Buzz


Resonant Pedal Sound


Levers


Thunder Effect


VII. Using Objects


Metal Rod


Stick


Use of Percussion Instruments by the Harpist


Bow


Electronic Bow


Plectrum


Other Objects


Prepared Harp


Inserting Materials Between the Strings (Foam, Paper, Cardboard, Textile, Rubber, Elastic Band, etc.)


VIII. Scordatura


Pedal Harp


Lever Harp


Two Harps


Conclusion


Significant Landmarks


List of Notations


Bibliography


The History of Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries


Contemporary Notation


Musical Instruments, The Orchestra


The Harp


Internet Sites


Repertoire of Works for Harp


Solo Harp


Harp and Extensions


Lever Harp


Lever Harp and Extensions


Duets and Harp Ensembles


Concertos


Duets


Trios


Quartets and More


Ensembles and Extensions


Index of Composers Quoted


Index of Playing Techniques

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GUIDE TO THE
CONTEMPORARY HARP
Mathilde Aubat-Andrieu
Laurence Bancaud
Aur lie Barb
H l ne Breschand
TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY
Lilian Rossi and Jean Rossi
GUIDE TO THE CONTEMPORARY HARP
INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
iupress.indiana.edu
English language edition 2019
by Indiana University Press
La harpe aux XXe et XXIe si cles
ditions Minerve 2013
The present work was published in French with the support of the Francis and Mica Salabert Foundation .
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Aubat-Andrieu, Mathilde, author.
Title: Guide to the contemporary harp / Mathilde Aubat-Andrieu [and 3 others] ; translated from French by Lilian Rossi and Jean Rossi.
Other titles: Harpe aux XXe et XXIe siecles. English
Description: Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2019. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2018033296 (print) LCCN 2018035092 (ebook) ISBN 9780253039392 (e-book) ISBN 9780253039378 (hardback : alk. paper) ISBN 9780253039385 (pbk. : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Harp-History-20th century. Harp-History-21st century.
Classification: LCC ML1005 (ebook) LCC ML1005 .A8313 2019 (print) DDC 787.9/5-dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018033296
1 2 3 4 5 24 23 22 21 20 19
CONTENTS
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Organology
I. Historical Background
II. The Pedal Harp
General Characteristics
The Parts of the Harp
The Strings
The Pedals and the Modulation Mechanism
Using the Pedals
Pedal Notation
Playing the Harp
III. The Lever Harp
General Characteristics
The Strings
Levers and the Modulation Mechanism
Playing the Lever Harp
IV. Electric Harps
The Electroacoustic Harp
The Electric Harp
The Electric-Acoustic Harp
V. Some Twenty-First-Century Creations
The MIDI Harp
The Automatic Harp
2. Writing and Language
I. Notation
Measured Notation
Unmeasured Notation
Proportional Notation
Introduction of the Aleatory Element (Indeterminacy)
Open Works
Combination of Several Notations
Superposition of Different Tempi
Writing on Several Staves
Writing with a System Other than the Five-Line Stave
Graphic Scores
II. Dramatized Writings
Microchoreography, Theatrical Gestures
Dramaturgic Use of the Voice
Use of the Sung Voice, with No Theatrical Indication
Use of the Spoken and the Sung Voice with No Text
III. Mixed Forms of Music
Some Works for Harp and Extensions
3. Playing Techniques
I. Timbre
Pr s de la table (Near the Soundboard)
Bas dans les cordes (Low in the Strings)
Pr s des chevilles (Near the Tuning Pins)
Harmonic Sound
Sound Using the Fingernail
Koto Sound
Plucked Sound
Vibrated Sound
Portando from One Pitch to Another
Xylo Sound
Pizzicato (Pizz.)
Bart k Pizzicato
Normal Position
Bisbigliando
Tone-Color Melody (Klangfarbenmelodie)
II. Glissandi, Chords, and Clusters
Single Glissando
Fast Glissando
Multiple Glissando
Pitchless Glissandi
Flat, Broken, Arpeggiated/Rolled Chords
Cluster Glissando
Rasgueado
Cluster Glissando with Thunder Effect
Cluster
Muffled Cluster
Tremolo Cluster
Aeolian Cluster
Various Forms of Rubbing
III. Resonances, Muffles, and Silences
Muffles
Let Vibrate
Fermata
IV. Hits on the Harp
Different Types of Hits
Which Part of the Harp to Hit
Composers Who Have Elaborated a Detailed Notation for Hits
V. Wire Strings
Whistling Sound (With the Palm of the Hand)
Wired Sound (Grabbing a Wire String with the Fingers)
Scrape with a Nail or a Plectrum
Buzz
Thunder Effect
Sustained Thunder Effect
VI. Pedals and Levers
Pedal Glissando
Pedal Trill
Rhythmic Effect with Pedals
Pedal Movement Ad Libitum with Sound Effect
Pedal Buzz
Resonant Pedal Sound
Levers
Thunder Effect
VII. Using Objects
Metal Rod
Stick
Specific Effects Obtained with a Superball
Use of Percussion Instruments by the Harpist
Bow
Electronic Bow
Plectrum
Other Objects
Prepared Harp
Inserting Materials between the Strings
VIII. Scordatura
Pedal Harp
Lever Harp
Two Harps
Conclusion
Timeline of the Harp, 1900-Present
List of Notations
Bibliography
The History of Music in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
Contemporary Notation
Musical Instruments: The Orchestra
The Harp
Websites
Repertoire of Works for Harp
Solo Harp
Harp and Extensions Lever Harp
Lever Harp and Extensions
Duets and Harp Ensembles
Concertos
Duets
Trios
Quartets and More
Ensembles and Extensions
Index of Composers Quoted
Index of Playing Techniques
PREFACE
F OR MORE THAN fifty years, contemporary musical composition has seen a considerable increase in ways to extend the possibilities of each instrument. The work carried out by Mathilde Aubat-Andrieu, Aur lie Barb , Laurence Bancaud, and H l ne Breschand enables the reader to become fully aware of the potential of the harp, one instrument in particular that has given rise to an extremely rich output of soloist and chamber music works since the 1950s. Such works are all the more far-reaching as they concern not only the pedal harp but also the lever harp and such electroacoustic extensions as are able to amplify, transform, and enlarge the range of the original sound source.
It is not the aim of the authors, however, merely to make an inventory of the various types of effects observed but to examine to what extent a different mode of striking up or a new tone color may be in keeping with the acoustic logic of the instrument and broaden its capacities. Nor is there any question of favoring one particular aesthetic trend. Indeed, the approach to this study displays the genuine open-mindedness that is a requisite for the discovery by future composers and performers of a new field of thought and the path to fruitful experimentation.
One of the inevitable problems that arise when a new sound element, outside the norms of conventional composition, is presented is finding an adequate notation sign. I feel that the choice made by the authors of the present work is quite apt; in fact, various signs invented by different composers are usually given to translate one specific sound element. The reader will not be overwhelmed by an excessive number of examples that are sometimes merely made up of variants. On the other hand, he or she cannot fail to see that the choice of graphic to illustrate a desired result is far from being neutral. Thus there can be no question of a wish to standardize at any cost the current norms of contemporary notation. It is also much more profitable to observe the solutions adopted by several composers in relation to their artistic aim. To be sure, a selection had to be made, and the authors have opted for a presentation of types of notation deemed to be the most appropriate for the problems in hand. Similarly, and along with those signs relating to the harp, questions about fixity and mobility as observed in certain contemporary scores have been included.
It is essential for composers to be able to consult a work that can help them pinpoint the properties of each instrument. As a teacher of musical composition, I have always found it essential to begin by informing my students of those books that will enable them to understand the concrete reality of each instrument from both a technical and aesthetic point of view. For the harp, such a tool has been sadly lacking, mainly because of the considerable evolution that has taken place in the last few decades. This book will fill such a gap. I hope that it will inspire young composers to explore the harp in a relevant and inventive way and enable young performers to cease regarding new notations as an insurmountable stumbling block.
Jean-Yves Bosseur
Composer
Director of Research at the Centre National de la
Recherche Scientifique (National Centre of Scientific Research)
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
O UR HEARTFELT THANKS go to the following persons for their invaluable assistance throughout the writing of this book:
Ivane B atrice Bellocq, Sylvie Beltrando, Philippe Bonnet, Jean-Yves Bosseur, Florence Bourdon, Fr d rique Cambreling, Gilles Carr , Bernard Cavanna, Bertrand Chavarri -Aldrete, Isabelle Daups, Rhodri Davies, F licit De Lalande, Fran ois Decarsin, Anne Dessus, Bernard de Vienne, Mary Fata, Martine Flaissier, Marie-H l ne Fournier, Jakez Fran ois, Vanessa Gerkens, Bruno Giner, Bastien Golliard, B atrice Guillermin, June Han, Ursula Holliger, Sonja Inglefield, Philippe Leroux, Anja Linder, Zad Moultaka, Xenia Narati, Jean-Pierre N r , Ghislaine Petit-Volta, Mich le Reverdy, Fran ois Ross , Christophe Sauni re, Philippe Schoeller, Michel Sendrez, Kazuko Gao Shinozaki, Ayako Shinozaki, Isabelle Spiers, Ernestine Stoop, Brigitte Sylvestre, Christophe Truant, Angelica Vazquez, Claire Vial, Ann Yeung
Laure Marcel-Berlioz, Corinne Monceau, and all the CDMC team
Germaine Tissier-Grandpierre Foundation
GUIDE TO THE
CONTEMPORARY HARP
INTRODUCTION
Works of art change the course of history!
-Karlheinz Stockhausen 1
L UCIANO B ERIO SAID the following of the harp, as played by French American harpist Carlos Salzedo (1883-1961): Traditionally, the harp is a feminine instrument: one always imagines a beautiful girl with Melisande-like hair, half naked and concealed behind trees in the mist, stroking the strings Aeolian harps, Sappho but Salzedo s playing technique has made me relinquish that poetic imagery: with him, the harp becomes a richer and more powerful instrument. Is it a feminine instrument?-that may well be, but wielded by a strong, earthly woman, one made free. 2
It is true that the harp is inevitably associated with that romantic image of silky glissandi, rippling chords, and a drawing-room repertoire. Yet that is only one of its many facets. The harp is present in every type of repertoire-in the theatre, in jazz, and in improvisation. The noise made by the pedals, the impacts, fingernails-such crackling and grinding sounds become expressive elements of the musical discourse. Harpists pinch, scratch, rub, hit, tear, stroke, speak, sing, whistle, and whisper. They use screwdrivers, erasers, papers, sticks, bows, bottle tops, and pegs. They sit or stand at the side of, behind, or in front of their instrument, and they explore not only the strings but also the sound box, the soundboard, the tuning pins, and the pedals, and so on. The harp may be scheming and then violent, frivolous, seductive, serious, meditative, somber, merry, playful, mischievous, or rebellious.
What we play is life, states Louis Armstrong.
According to Ivane B atrice Bellocq, Harpists search out new territories, sometimes completely immersing themselves in them, thus opening the way to a whole new repertoire and, even more valuably, to a real creation culture. 3
Indeed, the influence of imaginative harpists and their collaborations with composers have led to new perspectives, broadening the instrument s techniques and developing the expressive possibilities of the harp. Many works, some of which are for the solo harp, are the fruit of an encounter between artists: Francis Pierre with Luciano Berio, Betsy Jolas, Antoine Tisn , dith Lejet, Ichiro Noda ra, and T n-Th t Ti t; Sylvie Beltrando with Yoshihisa Ta ra and Gilles Carr ; Brigitte Sylvestre with Carlos Roqu Alsina, Georges Aperghis, Marie-H l ne Fournier, and Vinko Globokar; Ursula and Heinz Holliger; H l ne Breschand with Sylvain Kassap, Georgia Spiropoulos, and Fran ois Ross ; Isabelle Moretti with Mich le Reverdy; and so on. We must not neglect the role of harpists within established ensembles-for example, the distinguished Marie-Claire Jamet and Fr d rique Cambreling with the Ensemble Intercontemporain. We also must underline the work of harp makers and the technological progress culminating in the electric harp and the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) harp. All the preceding elements are found in various musical worlds that, although diverse, encourage their inhabitants to mingle and exchange experiences. It is such interactions that allow the instrument, and our attitudes toward it to evolve.
New virtuosities have appeared with the use of numerous playing modes, a highly refined palette of sounds, and different tessituras. There has been a search for sounds that are different and not necessarily pleasing to the ear, an investigation of each component of the instrument, and an exploration of how gestures, theatrical or otherwise, might be used.
Collaboration between composers and performers must also affect notation; each composer creates his or her own type of graphics, possibly suggested by the harpist he or she has been working with.
The path followed throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is part of the ongoing history of the evolution of the harp. Before Carlos Salzedo, who had considerably developed the techniques of playing the harp, other stages were decisive for the development of the harp:
In 1810, the double-action pedal mechanism was invented by S bastien rard.
From the late eighteenth century on, harpists were inventive in exploring different playing techniques. Particularly significant is the manual for harp by Madame de Genlis that was published in 1811. 4 It details the search for several harmonics on the same string and the use of pedal glissandi, the fifth finger, and the bow.
In the early nineteenth century, the virtuoso Elias Parish-Alvars made significant contributions in his playing and works.
In 1832, the harp appeared in Hector Berlioz s Symphonie fantastique .
In 1908, Andr Caplet wrote the first version of his astonishingly modern score Le Masque de la Mort Rouge (The Masque of the Red Death) .
In 1915, Claude Debussy wrote the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp .
Each step taken is more interesting when considered in its capacity to further develop music rather than breaking away from its past. As Jorge Louis Borg s states, Every writer creates his own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future! 5
Thanks to our broader knowledge of the harp and its present-day compositions, we may look at former works with a fresh eye and continue our voyage of discovery. We might also follow Alban Berg s advice to play contemporary works as if they were classical ones, and the latter like the former.
With this book, we aim to make an inventory of the different timbres, effects, and playing modes written for the harp, together with the appropriate notations and graphics, to better to open up the field of today s and tomorrow s music.
It goes without saying that this panorama is not exhaustive. Choices have had to be made. Indeed, certain effects have given rise to multiple graphic translations from one composer to another, and it seemed inadvisable to retain all of them; the most efficient ones have been selected. We have paid the most attention to what we deemed the most seminal reference books concerning contemporary composition.
Jean-Yves Bosseur stresses the fact that most non-conventional effects have given rise to multiple graphic variants for reasons which cannot always be separated from a specific artistic purpose. 6 Thus, there will always be several ways to notate the same sound, according to the context, and the universe and style of the composer.
N OTES
1 . Karlheinz Stockhausen, in radio interview conducted by C cile Gilly in February 1996 during rehearsals for Vendredi de Lumi re (Friday of Light) in Leipzig, broadcast from July 28 to August 2, 1996, in the Nocturne series on France-Culture.
2 . Ivanka Sto anova, Luciano Berio: Chemins en Musique [Luciano Berio: musical paths], no. 375-77 (Paris: La Revue Musicale, 1985), 401.
3 . Ivane B atrice Bellocq, conversation with the authors, May 31, 2010.
4 . Genlis, St phanie F licit , Comtesse de, Nouvelle m thode pour apprendre jouer de la harpe [New method for learning to play the harp] (1811; repr. Geneva: Minkoff, 1974).
5 . Jorge Luis Borg s, Enqu tes [Inquiries] (Paris: Gallimard, 1986).
6 . Jean-Yves Bosseur, Du son au signe: histoire de la notation musicale [From sound to sign: history of musical notation] (Paris: Alternatives, 2005).
1. ORGANOLOGY
T HE HARP HAS figured in the history of civilization for thousands of years, symbolizing harmony and joining man to the earth and the heavens, to both earthly and cosmic powers. It has a rich symbolic past and a vigorous history of instrument making, both in the West and in the rest of the world, and it has taken on many forms over the centuries. We have opted for a synthetic presentation of organology in this chapter, with a brief inventory of harp making-a short summary of harp making in the past and a general description of present-day instruments and the most recent technological developments. The contents are meant to be guidelines for the rest of the book, since writing, and especially contemporary writing, is closely linked to the physical and acoustic nature of the instrument. Indeed, the harp is often perceived as a whole, a sonorous body.
I. H ISTORICAL B ACKGROUND
The harp is an instrument with strings stretched between two fixed parts, the notes of which are modified either by a mechanical shortening (not a manual one, as in the case of the guitar or the lute) of the length of the vibrating strings, either by increasing or lessening the tension of the strings.
Nowadays there are many types of harps. We must differentiate between harps of the Western world, which are the subject of this work, and the great variety of harps throughout the rest of the world, ranging from the musical arch to South American and African harps. Western harps may be classified into two main types:
Lever harps (also called Celtic harps or Irish harps), the inflections of which are achieved by the movement of a lever for each of the strings
Concert harps or pedal harps, with seven pedals, each of which corresponds to a note in the scale; the pedals modify the length of the vibrating string by a system of discs (or fourchettes) invented by S bastien rard at the end of the eighteenth century
Several stages were necessary before the invention and widespread use of the double-action pedal harp, as devised by rard. Formerly, harps could be modulated either by a pressure of the finger at the end of the string or by means of two or three rows of strings effecting note inflections. Around 1660, Tyrolean instrument makers devised a mechanism of hooks attached to the neck of a harp with a single row of strings, able to raise each note by a half step (half tone). This system can be compared to that of today s lever harps.
Around 1720, the instrument maker Jacob Hochbr cker (1673-1763) invented a mechanism in which the pedals were placed in the base of the harp, making it possible for musicians to work the hooks with their feet and not with their hands. This harp, referred to as a single-action harp, would be improved on by the French instrument maker Jacques Georges Cousineau (1760-1824), who replaced the hooks with metal parts. In 1794, the instrument maker S bastien rard (1752-1831) conceived the idea of replacing the hooks with a system of pedal discs and adding a third notch to the pedals in order to obtain a second half step (hence the name double-action pedal harp ). In this way, further modulations were made possible. This pedal harp is the one in use today.
Along with these inventions, another harp-the chromatic harp-was developed at the end of the nineteenth century. Indeed, certain harpists find the double-action pedal harp ill adapted to playing chromatic passages as well as difficult to tune. In 1804, the engineer and director of the Pleyel and Cie establishment, Gustave Lyon, removed the pedal from the harp and placed two rows of crossed strings on the soundboard, making it possible to obtain very swift chromaticisms. The harp no longer possessed forty-seven strings but seventy-eight. In 1904, Claude Debussy composed Danses sacr e et profane (Sacred and Profane Dances) for this type of instrument. Since the chromatic harp ceased to be made in 1930, learning how to play it gradually became uncommon in the twentieth century. Today it is rarely played.
rard s harp underwent several changes in the twentieth century. The number of strings gradually went from forty-three to forty-seven, and the sound box on certain models was enlarged in order to amplify the lowest notes. Today s instrument makers are continually seeking new ways to improve the strength and the purity of the sound as well as the quality of the various types of wood chosen and the weight, maintenance, and transport of the instrument.
II. T HE P EDAL H ARP
General Characteristics
The harp is a triangular plucked-string instrument. The pedal harp (or double action pedal harp, thus named because of its pedal-discs mechanism) in use today has forty-seven strings; it measures between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet 2 inches (180-190 cm) and weighs approximately 88 pounds (40 kg). Student harps, with between forty to forty-seven strings, are smaller (from 5 ft. 2 in. to 5 ft. 7 in., or 160-175 cm) and lighter but have the same technical characteristics as concert harps.

1.1. Pedal harp. Salvi Salvi Harps.
The Parts of the Harp
The harp is composed of four main parts: the sound box, the neck, and the column, which rest on the base.
The sound box (or sounding body) ends with the soundboard along its upper face, the latter being bored with small holes through which the strings are threaded. The soundboard may be straight-sided or broad, in order to amplify the sound volume, especially the bass notes. The strings are attached to the inside of the sound box with small pins. In the sound box are sound holes, which are necessary in order to change the strings and to allow the sound to resonate.
The neck is made of wood, and the mechanism is anchored on it by the following means:
Tuning pins, around which the strings are wound
Bridge pins (or string nuts)
Discs (small dented discs, or wheels)

1.2. Parts of the harp. Illustration by authors.
It is by turning the tuning pin (with the tuning key) that the strings can be stretched to a greater or lesser degree, in order to be tuned.
The column (or pillar) holds the metal rods joining the pedal mechanisms to those of the neck.
The base supports the harp and houses the pedals, which set the mechanism in motion.

1.3. Detail of the neck. Illustration by authors.
The Strings
The modern concert harp has forty-seven strings; its range (compass) is six and a half octaves.

1.4. Compass of the pedal harp. Illustration by authors.
To distinguish the various octaves in the present work, we shall refer to the American notation in figure 1.5 .

1.5. Octave notation. Wikipedia.
However, since S bastien rard s propositions, harpists have chosen to count the strings from the highest to the lowest (as in the numeration G 00, F 0, E 1, D 2, C 3, etc.). The first octave goes from E 1 to F 7, the second from E 8 to F 14, and so on. The strings are numbered like this by the manufacturers.
The C strings are colored in red, the F in blue or black. The twelve lowest strings, called wire strings, are made of a wire string covered with a layer of nylon or silk fibers then rolled in successive whorls of nickel plate (stainless steel wires) or silver-plated copper.
Most of the strings-about twenty-eight of them-are made of gut taken from the median membrane of the small intestine of an ox or a sheep, cut into thin strands along its length and twisted. A medium-sized string is made of approximately fifteen gut strands. The highest octave is usually made of nylon strings (but certain harpists prefer gut strings).
The Pedals and the Modulation Mechanism
There are seven pedals at the base of the harp. Each pedal corresponds to a note of the scale C D E F G A B (international notation). The pedals are connected to metal rods, linked to the column, which are joined to a complex mechanism inside the neck leading to the discs, which are small toothed wheels. Each pedal can be shifted into one of the three different notches, thus moving the discs into one of three different positions, resulting in a flat, natural, or sharp note.
As we have seen, the shorter the string, the higher the sound obtained. When the pedal is in the upper notch, none of the strings of that note are connected to the fork or disc (an open string), thus creating a flat note. If all the pedals are raised, the harp is tuned to C-flat.
When the pedal is in the middle notch, the upper wheel turns and pinches the string. Thus, the length of the string is shortened: the note is raised by a half step (half tone or semitone) and becomes natural.

1.6. Mechanism of the discs. Illustration by authors.
When the pedal is in the lower notch, it is the second, lower wheel that pinches the string and shortens it; once again the note is raised by a half step and becomes sharp.
The two lowest notes (C 1 and D 1 ) and the highest note (G 7 ) do not have an accidental mechanism (except in the very rare case of harps with a mechanism for the G 7 note). These notes need to be pretuned by the musician before playing the piece.
Using the Pedals
When the musician is seated behind the harp, there are three pedals on his (or her) left side (D, C, and B), to be worked with the left foot, and four on his (or her) right (E, F, G, and A), to be worked with the right foot.

Figure 1.7. The pedals of the harp. Illustration by authors.
The harpist can place the pedals in position at the beginning of the piece, in the required tonality if it is a tonal work or in the determined harmonic reservoir if it is an atonal piece. Then he or she will have to work the pedals whenever there are changes while playing.
The action of the pedal is very swift (all the more so if there is only one notch, as in going from a sharp to a natural, for example); it is almost instantaneous. Nevertheless, the pedal may make a slight sound-a glissando from one accidental to another-if the pedal being worked corresponds to one or several notes still resonating. In order to use the pedal with a minimum of noise, it is preferable to wait until the resonance has ended to muffle it. The harpist can easily work two pedals at once with two feet if they are on either side (for example, B and E, F and C, or D and G). However, if he or she works the B pedal in the natural position, all the Bs of the harp will be natural. It is therefore advisable to use the enharmonic system to play a B-natural and a B-flat at the same time (in this case, one can play A-sharp instead of B-flat or a C-flat instead of a B-natural). The use of the enharmonic system is frequent in harp playing because it is the harpist s only way of superposing the two same notes modified in different ways while playing two different strings (B-sharp and C-natural, for example) in unison, thus making it possible to work on the tone color.
The difficulty arises when changes in accidentals are numerous, since the speed at which the legs and feet can move is limited. Chromatic passages that are too quick are not advisable, unless the use of the pedals and the glissando from one note to another are taken into account. For example, it is easy to play G, A-flat to A-natural (with the right foot) and B, C to C-sharp (with the left one), but not a whole scale.
Since the harp is a resonant instrument, a pedal worked without muffling the strings will always be audible. These sounds, nevertheless, may be used and integrated into the composition. (See chap. 3, Playing Techniques - VI. Pedals and Levers .)
It is possible to work the E pedal (or the F pedal) with the left foot, but this is rarely done: such foot movements are more intricate and less quick.
Pedal Notation
Generally speaking, before beginning to play, the harpist takes the time to note the pedals on the music score. Indications of pedal changes are very important and of great help to the musician in reading the score.
The pedal boards are diagrams indicating the pedals positions at given places in the score. Most often, it is the harpist who writes them down on the score. These diagrams show the flat-note pedal position above the horizontal line, the natural position on the line itself, and the sharp position below the line. Reading from left to right, the pedals are shown in the following order: D, C, and B on the left side and E, F, G, and A on the right side.

1.8. Pedal notation. Illustration by authors.

1.9. Ichiro Noda ra, Messages I (1985). Lemoine, Paris.
In certain music scores, the use of the pedals is an extra voice-for example, in Fid lit (Fidelity) , by Georges Aperghis (1982). (See chap. 3, Playing Techniques - VI. Pedals and Levers .)
Playing the Harp
The traditional way to play the harp entails sitting on a stool with the harp resting on the right shoulder-or in certain cases held in position by the knees. Generally speaking, the left hand plays the bass and middle strings and the right hand, the middle and treble strings. (The range of the right hand toward the bass notes is limited by the harp s position on the shoulder.) The hands play the middle part of the strings in order to play in the normal position.
The harpist plays with four fingers of each hand: (1) the thumb, (2) the forefinger or pointer, (3) the middle finger, and (4) the third or ring finger. The use of the little finger has always been controversial. Certain harpists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries advocated for it: Madame de Genlis (1745-1830), Antoine Prumier (1794-1868), Ange-Conrad Prumier (1820-1884), and mile Boussagol (1854-1917) used it in their teaching methods for the harp. Nowadays, the little finger is not included in the basic technique of harp playing. Some harpists do use it, but this is a personal choice and quite rare.
Today, harpists are no longer content to play only with classical positions but are experimenting with new techniques. For example, they may set the harp on the floor and lean forward in order to reach the bass strings more easily, as advocated by the composer Mark Andr in his score Un-Fini I (1995), played entirely in the bass register. Some musicians play standing up at times (which is possible when there are not too many pedal changes), thus allowing the body more freedom of movement and enabling the harpist to dance or to reach for an accessory. It is also possible to position the stool in front of the bass strings, as in Okanagon , by Giacinto Scelsi (1968), and Fragmentations pour un joueur de harpes (Fragmentations for One Player on Two Harps) , by Sylvano Bussotti (1962), or to play standing in front of the column.
III. T HE L EVER H ARP
General Characteristics
The modern lever harp has between thirty-two and thirty-eight strings, weighs from 24.85 to 35.00 pounds (11 to 16 kg), and can be up to 5 feet 2 inches (160 cm) high. It can have different forms, with or without raised feet, and the pillar is usually curved. It is lighter and easier to handle than the pedal harp, and its strings may be nylon or gut. Because the lever harp is small, it is often used to teach children how to play. It is nevertheless an instrument in its own right, with its own repertoire and a lively tradition of instrument making.

1.10. Lever harp, Camac. Camac Harps.
It is important to know that there are many kinds of lever harp-for example, small harps with metal strings, made by specialized instrument makers in the tradition of medieval harps. Modern-day instrument makers also offer small harps (between twenty-two and twenty-seven strings) that can be equipped with a strap and played standing up.
In this section, we shall concentrate on the modern lever harp, for which contemporary pieces are written.
The Strings
The range in use in the contemporary repertoire is normally about five octaves.

1.11. Compass of a thirty-four-stringed lever harp. Illustration by authors.
The strings may be made of the following:
All nylon, with wire strings for the eight to ten lowest notes
Gut, with the five highest strings made of nylon and the lowest made of wire
Wire-specifically in the Celtic repertoire, harpists sometimes play on harps constructed with wire strings alone
According to the desired tension, it is possible to choose between different calibers of strings: standard or strong for gut strings and standard or light for wire strings.
Levers and the Modulation Mechanism
On the lever harp, the levers enable the musician to raise or lower a note. The harp has neither pedals nor a mechanism linking the base to the pillar. The levers, made of plastic or metal, are situated on the neck, replacing the discs on a large harp. Each lever corresponds to a string, and the levers can take up two positions, lowered or raised. When the lever is lowered, the string is said to be open. When it is raised, it comes to press against the string to shorten it, thus raising the note by a half step.

1.12. Levers. Photo courtesy of authors.
Thus, two sounds can be created with each string. A note therefore may be played flat and natural or natural and sharp. In order to have the greatest possible number of tonalities at one s disposal, the lever harp is tuned to E-flat major (all the levers lowered).
To play the scale of C major, for example, the E, A, and B levers need to be raised. In this fashion, two notes can be played on each string:
The C string: C-natural and C-sharp
The D string: D-natural and D-sharp
The E string: E-flat and E-natural
The F string: F-natural and F-sharp
The G string: G-natural and G-sharp
The A string: A-flat and A-natural
The B string: B-flat and B-natural
Playing the Lever Harp
Just as for the pedals of a large harp, the harpist prepares the levers before playing, according to the tonality (or scale of notes) in which the piece commences. More often than not, the left hand activates the levers since they are situated on the left side of the neck; to change an accidental while playing, the left hand must briefly cease to play in order to move the lever. Even if such movements of the left hand and the eyes are fairly swift, it is important to take them into account when composing music for the lever harp (i.e., whether to free the left hand or to play the notes with the right one). In certain instances-for example, when the left hand has to play a continuous accompaniment-the right hand may activate the lever; the gesture is more intricate because the arm has to go over the neck of the harp.
IV. E LECTRIC H ARPS
The Electroacoustic Harp
An electroacoustic harp is an acoustic harp amplified by means of two external sensors (microphones), which can be fitted onto every part of the harp (the soundboard, sound box, and neck). These microphones are linked to an amplification system, a mixing console, or a control box. Any pedal or lever harp can be amplified in this way.
The electroacoustic harp differs from the electric-acoustic harp in that the sensors on an electric-acoustic harp are fitted at the base of each string, thereby amplifying the sound of each string directly. However, the term electroacoustic is often used to designate an electric-acoustic harp.
Some brands of microphones for harps include Ischell, FWF, and Schertler.
The Electric Harp
The electric harp has neither sound box nor soundboard. It is fitted with a piezoelectric microphone at the base of each string. The bass and treble registers are separated by a mono/stereo output. A switch situated above the output socket enables the player to go from one mode to the other.

1.13. Mono/stereo switch, Camac electroharp. Camac Harps.
When in stereo mode, the harp is divided into two registers: bass and treble. The signal of the bass half of the harp is directed toward the right pin of the socket, while that of the treble half is connected to the left pin. In this configuration, the harp must be connected to a two-way amplification system.
In mono mode, the signal of all the sensors is on the same line, thus making it easy to connect the harp to a one-way amplification system. 1
Electric harps first appeared in the 1970s and 80s, largely thanks to Alan Stivell, the Celtic harpist. With the development of folk-rock music, the amplification of the harp was essential, particularly during concerts.
Various electric lever harps exist today: for example, Camac s electroharp, available with thirty, thirty-two, or thirty-six strings, or Lyon and Healy s Silhouette. They are made of wood or of (lighter) carbon fiber and can be held against the body with a harness, making them easier to move around in an upright position. The electric pedal harp also exists, but it is used less often now because of the development of the electric-acoustic harp, which gives greater playing scope.

1.14. The Silhouette electric harp, Lyon and Healy. Lyon and Healy.
From free music to pop, as well as jazz, many harpists have developed their language and music through the electric harp.
The Electric-Acoustic Harp
The electric-acoustic harp may be played acoustically, without amplification, or it may be lightly or heavily amplified or combined with electroacoustic equipment. It has a sound box and a soundboard, enabling it to be played acoustically. As in the case of the electric harp, a microphone is fitted at the base of each string, within a wooden bar placed in the middle of the soundboard.
The electric-acoustic harp has four separate outputs. Three of them correspond to the three main registers of the harp: high for the treble register, medium for the middle register, and bass for the bass wire strings. The fourth output, called pickup, is connected to an electroacoustic microphone to pick up the sound from the soundboard.

1.15. Sensors. Camac Harps.

1.16. The four outputs, Camac harp. Photo courtesy of authors.
It is possible to use both a mixing console and an effects processor with the electric-acoustic harp. The user can set up (parameterize) numerous effects, then program, combine, and record them. During the performance of a piece of music, the harpist presses on a pedal plugged into the processor to go from one effect to the other.
The first electric-acoustic harps were created in the 1970s. Different models of pedal and lever harps exist today-for example, the Echo and Egan harps (Salvi), the Style 2000 Electroacoustic model (Lyon and Healy), and the Blue Harp (Camac).

1.17. Style 2000 Electroacoustic, Lyon and Healy. Lyon and Healy.

1.18. Big Blue 47, Camac. Camac Harps.
At the present time, a number of music conservatories have invested in the acquisition of an electric-acoustic harp or an electric harp (e.g., the Munich Higher College of Music and Drama, the Berklee College of Music in Boston, the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Oslo Academy, and many music conservatories in France, including in Paris, Brest, Rennes, Metz, and Avignon). In France, the Odyssey of the Harp festival has been dedicated to the Blue Harp (by Camac) every year since 2006 at the departmental Conservatory of Bourg-la-Reine/Sceaux (south of Paris). Each year, one or several works of musical theater are created at the festival.
Through the impetus given by numerous harpists (e.g., Alan Stivell, Deborah Henson-Conant, Kristen Nogu s, Martine Flaissier, Helga Storck), the repertoire of the electric harp has started to grow and continues to do so. Unfortunately, few works have been published; however, we have compiled a list of notable works by the following composers (see Repertoire of Works for the Harp): St phane Borrel, Thierry Escaich, Graciane Finzi, Marie-H l ne Fournier, Karim Haddad, Fabien Levy, Alain Louvier, Fr d ric Pattar, Vincent Paulet, Kaija Saariaho, Elzbieta Sikora, Fuminori Tanada, and Jean-Claude Wolff.
V. S OME T WENTY -F IRST -C ENTURY C REATIONS
In this section, we have chosen to present two harps created in recent years: the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) harp and the automatic harp. Since stringed instrument makers and harp makers are continually innovating all over the world, there are many other twenty-first-century models-for example, a chromatic harp with sixty-one strings created by instrument maker Philippe Volant in March 2006. Since these harps are very recent, there is little or nothing in the way of a repertoire for them at the present time, and what little there is, is rarely published.
The MIDI Harp
At the end of the 80s, the first MIDI instruments appeared. After the success of MIDI synthesizers, guitars, and percussion, the first MIDI harp was shown in 2006 at the twenty-third International Celtic Harp Festival in Dinan, France, by the instrument maker Bernhardt Schmidt.
This lever harp has no sound box, comprises twenty-four to thirty-six strings, and is based on recognition and analysis of frequencies technology, integrating artificial intelligence. It permits the conversion of several acoustic parameters in MIDI format at high speed and without an audible waiting time (within three to five milliseconds). This technology detects the frequency of the note, its variations and length, the amplitude, and the place where the string is plucked.
The MIDI harp is equipped with an individual sensor per string, connected to several preamplifiers in the solid body of the instrument. The strings are divided into three or four registers: bass, medium bass, medium treble, and treble. Each register has its own preamplifier feeding its own mono output and one stereo output. The volume of each audio register and of the MIDI registers can be adjusted separately, directly on the harp. It can be played as an electro-harp, in MIDI mode, or in a combination of both.
Each of the MIDI controllers has an integrated synthesizer and more than five hundred sound samples, of which some ten are percussion kits. The format communicates directly with Finale and Sibelius score editions software.
The first MIDI pedal harp prototype, presented by Jakez Fran ois, was seen at the Camac Harp Days in London, on April 1, 2009. It used the same AXON technology as the aforementioned lever harp, but with a much more powerful processor able to handle a system of forty-seven strings (compared to the previous thirty).
Connected to a computer and an amplifier, the MIDI harp offers many possibilities. This technology is not only able to produce the sounds of another instrument (the trumpet or the oboe, for example) and to input a score on a computer, but it can also parameterize the stereophony of the acoustic sound or create its own sound.
No Doubt , the first concerto for MIDI harp and orchestra, was composed by Graham Fitkin. This work was first performed in London on January 26, 2011, by Sioned Williams and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. We can also note the example of the experiments and compositions of the harpist Elisabeth Valletti.
The Automatic Harp
The automatic harp was designed in 2006 by Jean-Marie Panterne after he met the harpist Anja Linder, whom a serious accident had rendered paraplegic.
It is fitted with an automatic pedal change called APS (Automatic Pedals System). Inserted into the base of an acoustic harp, this new electropneumatic system, controlled by a compressor, enables the harpist to trigger each combination of pedals (previously programmed on the computer) on one single pedal. The software provided with the system works by means of an Excel spreadsheet filled in by the harpist in accordance with the pedal changes in the piece of music. Files can be sent and exchanged via the internet between harpists owning the APS system and may be used simultaneously.
To play a piece, the harpist selects the appropriate number, which appears on the monitor, thus setting the harp in the start position.

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