Guide to the Contemporary Harp

Guide to the Contemporary Harp

Mathilde Aubat-Andrieu, Laurence Bancaud, Aurélie Barbé and Hélène Breschand
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/11/2019
Format: Paperback 321 b&w illus., 2 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-03938-5
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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.

Author Bio

Mathilde Aubat-Andrieu is a harpist and cofounder of the association Les Signes de l'arc (The Signs of the Arch). She was awarded a gold medal and first prize in proficiency at the Music Conservatory in Troyes (France) and gives regular performances at reading-concerts, with chamber music ensembles and orchestra.

Laurence Bancaud is a harpist and cofounder of the association Les Signes de l'arc. She was awarded first prize at the CNSMD (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse) and has a master's degree in musicology and specializes in contemporary music. She is author of Tôn-Thât Tiêt: Dialogue Avec la Nature.

Aurélie Barbé is a harpist, composer, and cofounder of the association Les Signes de l'arc. She was awarded a gold medal at the Music Conservatory in Caen (France) and a higher studies diploma in musicology. She is a teacher and performer, specializing in modal, minimalist and improvised music for both classical and electric harp.

Hélène Breschand is a harpist, composer, and cofounder of the association Les Signes de l'arc. She was awarded a gold medal and first prize in proficiency at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Regional in Paris. She pursues her career as a soloist in the contemporary repertoire and in new creations, improvisation, and musical theatre.

Lilian Rossi has pursued an academic career and is the author of Doctors and Nurses. Jean Rossi is an administrative officer. Working as a team, they have translated numerous academic and literary works from French and German.

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Table of Contents

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