Do you ever feel that you would like to find more freedom and expression in your harp playing, but you just don't quite know what to do?
As a classical pianist I was trained to respect the score and follow it with great care. But I love finding the meaning, expression and imagery behind the notes. Therapeutic style harp music is a perfect place to develop your ability to look beyond the score to change, express and feel the music.
Let me introduce you to three meditative solos that have been crafted to give you the flexibility to explore the expressive possibilities in the score. The musical framework is in place, all you need to do is learn where you can make your own choices.
All three pieces have F sharp in the key signature, but each one has a different tonal centre. In other words each is based on a different mode. So the pieces work well as a group and the use of modes and meter help the mood of each piece evolve into a set that supports sleep and helps create a wonderful, calm space for healing. (Need some help understanding modes? Check out Emoji Modes)
Imagine lying in bed at the end of the day, just quietly going over the things that happened, the people you talked to and how you felt. Reflection is in E Aeolian, a quitely contemplative mode.
If you take a look at the score you'll see the sections are numbered. Section 1 is warm and thoughtful. Section 2 is sweet and sparkly. And Section 3 is rich and flowing.
Your assignment is to repeat or change the order of those three sections however you like. If you are playing in church or a yoga class, that gives you the flexibility to lengthen or shorten the piece as required. Simply end with Section 4 when you are finished.
Sure, you can play the piece beginning to end as written, but I'd like to invite you to choose your own path.
Imagine that beautiful in between state, just as you are drifting off to sleep. Almost awake almost asleep. You are floating. You might also think of gentle waves, which you'll hear in the liting 6/8 meter.
Now this piece is not so much about improvising, but more about creating texture with your tone. And this can be a very creative and personal way to express your music. The opening two bars is your background texture. It needs to be gentle and soft. That figure, like the ocean waves repeats again and again with that same soft texture.
In m.8 notice the slur over the melody line. Here is where you need the right hand to sing expressively and soulfully. Watch for the slurs throughout the piece to help you know when to voice the right hand with lovely tone and phrasing.
This piece is in A Dorian, so the tonal center is a fifth below Reflection. Remember to set your lowest F as F natural. The Dorian mode creates a grounded, stable mood.
The third piece in the trilogy is Stillness, centered in D Mixolydian (again a fifth below the previous piece). The Mixolydian mode has a major flavour, so we end the group of pieces with a quiet sense of hope.
The sections are numbered once again, with an invitation to repeat or change the order as you like.
Enjoy the space created by the longer note values, don't rush through the dotted half notes. In fact, listen to the sound of the harp and just enjoy the sound vibrations. There's no rush.
This piece is about stillness, so listen...listen...listen and enjoy creating a healing space with your music.
Please take 10 minutes to relax and listen to the three pieces. Get a coffee, put your headphones on and just breathe. Use this music to start or end your day. Use it to settle your mind and prepare for your own harp practice with a sense of calm and focus.
I'd like to know how you are using these pieces in your harp practice. Let me know in the comments.
You can purchase the three solos as a sheet music bundle along with a FREE audio mp3 for inspiration. Visit the shop >>
Interested in online harp lessons? Click here to learn more >>
Enjoy your day,