chromatic harp technique – thinking outside the box

Sharing a memory while I’m working on new stuff… The chromatic harp keeps challenging me, and my technique is still developing and changing – nothing written in stone yet! This instrument makes me “think outside the box” when it comes to fingerings (and cross-fingerings) and how to “pass over and under” – it’s less “linear” than the “straight” harp. The order of fingers in a fingering is not nessesarily 12345 or similar, but whatever finger is nearest, or can produce the nicest tone, and not to forget if it feels good and relaxed. As this is a relatively new instrument, I’m my own teacher (since over 20 years at this stage), and my decisionmaking for fingerings is based on what I know about regular harp technique, and what I saw with Pleyel chromatic harp players, but I also get inspiration from other instruments as to what hands & fingers can do… and as my fingers are getting used to the different angles (compared to regular harp) and my pinkies are getting stronger, I do things differently than 10 years ago, new possibilities keep opening up as I grow with the harp technique! It’s an exciting journey, very slow, but thorough. The choice of a 6/6 custom made harp model (H. Schupp) with higher string tension, wider string spacing and the choice of using gut strings comes from my pedal harp days – I love the sound, the dynamic possibilities and the feel of it – again it’s not the easiest path compared to using soft, smooth and responsive strings, but it suits me and keeps me entertained on rainy days!

Leave a Reply