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Harpists: 'Strumming' technique?

18 Aug 05 - 11:02 PM (#1545421)
Subject: Harpists: 'Strumming' technique?
From: harpmolly

I'm just full of questions today, boy howdy...

I'm working on a song (see "The Wiser Maid" thread) and the melody I'm using has a very swing-y feel to it. It lends itself very well to my mountain dulcimer, except that it's Mixolydian and I'm missing a crucial fret (soooo frustrating!) I'd love to play it on the harp, but I really like the strumming rhythm of the dulcimer.

So, my question is: Do you all have any recommendations for rhythmic techniques that sort of imitate that strummed feeling? Block chords don't quite sound right, even syncopated, and arpeggios aren't quite what I'm looking for. Any suggestions?



19 Aug 05 - 08:50 PM (#1546108)
Subject: RE: Harpists: 'Strumming' technique?
From: The Fooles Troupe

Finger picks.

19 Aug 05 - 09:56 PM (#1546150)
Subject: RE: Harpists: 'Strumming' technique?
From: harpmolly

Oh, I've got the fingerpicking down. *grin* But I think I'm going to have to face facts and bring in my dulcimer and have John, our resident guitar repair god, throw an extra fret on there. The harp works for almost everything I like to play, but I just can't see it as a strummed instrument (glisses don't count *g*).

Thanks for the suggestion, though...


21 Aug 05 - 05:50 AM (#1546472)
Subject: RE: Harpists: 'Strumming' technique?
From: Bonnie Shaljean

You could try the bisbigliando technique (which is easier to write than to describe!) wherein you play a two- or three-note chord with each hand alternating very rapidly on the same strings or - if you have them - their enharmonics. For example, if you want to use a C chord, you could play middle C, E, and G with fingers 3-2-1 of your right hand in a strong rippling manner, then immediately after this, do exactly the same thing with your left hand on those same strings, or else B#-E-G if you are using a Celtic harp and have time for a lever-change. Keep repeating this for as long as you like.

Any classical harp tutor will give further details of this technique. Your inventive use of harp accompaniment sounds like a great idea - is there any way we can hear it?

21 Aug 05 - 08:12 AM (#1546520)
Subject: RE: Harpists: 'Strumming' technique?
From: Kaleea

I saw this thread & it got me to thinking (scary huh?) about Travisy-type plicking(pluck&pick) I do on the autoharp(sorta like the Travis-type picking on guitar except on autoharp), so I went to my Celtic harp & had tons of fun. Now if I could just hit the strings I intended to, I'd have even more fun. You might mess around with that.

21 Aug 05 - 08:58 PM (#1546768)
Subject: RE: Harpists: 'Strumming' technique?
From: The Fooles Troupe

It's not the gadgets (the finger picks), but the way you use them (the technique)...