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Topic: Double Harp Gliss

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  1. #1

    Double Harp Gliss

    I figure that Gary would know the answer to this...

    Yesterday I was listening to the radio, and they played a recording from Minnesota of Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn.

    http://www.music-with-ease.com/debus...noon-faun.html

    You can hear an excerpt of the piece here, though it's not the same performance that I had heard, and you can't hear the double gliss clearly.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=music

    The harpist played some beautiful glissandos with each note struck twice. I assume that this was done with one hand strumming right behind the other. I'm not sure, because if not done carefully, the second pluck would damp the first, possibly making it uneven.

    My two questions are: how is it played, and how is it notated?

    I was very impressed with how effective and well executed this effect was.

    -JF

  2. #2
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    Re: Double Harp Gliss

    Jon,

    There are 2 harp parts in this piece! That's how they did it. Dover has this score available. This is one of my all time favorite works!

  3. #3

    Re: Double Harp Gliss

    Wow. Those players must have been Borg or something! I considered two players, but couldn't imagine them syncing it that well.

    Is it scored with a 16th or 32nd offset, or did they just interpret it that way?

    -JF

  4. #4

    Re: Double Harp Gliss

    I just had a look at the score. All the glissandos are notated as ordinary (i.e., single) glissandos, and are written to be played by only one of the two harps.

    If a double gliss is audible, I assume it's because the harpist or the conductor took a small liberty with the score.

    (BTW: "Faun," not "Fawn.")
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  5. #5

    Re: Double Harp Gliss

    Quote Originally Posted by danpowers
    (BTW: "Faun," not "Fawn.")
    Wow. You're right.

    Faun n. any of a class of minor Roman deities, half man and half goat.

    Fawn n. 1. a deer less than one year old 2. a pale, yellowish brown.

    That's what I get for hearing it on the radio. The funny thing is that I found the links with a google search for "fawn".

    Thanks!

    -JF

  6. #6
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    Re: Double Harp Gliss

    I just listened to the passage you noted. It may be that there are strings tuned enharmonically causing the sound of double notes. Don't have the score in front of me now as I'm at work.

  7. #7

    Re: Double Harp Gliss

    You're right. The pedal settings for the first harp at the beginning are:

    A# Bb C# Db E Fb G#

    That's probably why we've been hearing double notes.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  8. #8

    Re: Double Harp Gliss

    Duh!

    That would easily explain the near perfect performance of this effect. I've always seen harp double tunings as a liability, though a simple solution for getting all of the strings within the chord. When taken to the extreme, it's not a liability - it's a unique sound. Cool.

    -JF

  9. #9
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    Re: Double Harp Gliss

    Here's a copy of the harp part that Robert Piéchaud did in Finale 2005 with Human Playback:

    http://www.garritan.com/mp3/hp-Debus...sMidiFaune.mus

    Perhaps someone can render this as a pdf and mp3 and we can analyze it together.

    The successive double notes are a result of the pedaling. Using the GPO glissando harp packets one can acheive the same efffect

    Gary Garritan

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