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Topic: Harp Question

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  1. #1

    Harp Question

    Hey everyone,

    I'm uploading two images of two types of glissandos I've seen in other scores, and want to use in a score of mine, as I'm looking for a sort of ad lib glissando effect. My only question is...what's the difference? If any harpists (Gary...) can shed some light on the differences in performance of the two glisses please help me out so I know which one is more appropriate to use. (Personally, I like the look of the first one much better )

    Gliss #1 - http://www.box.net/shared/o6cnsa7ksc
    Gliss #2 - http://www.box.net/shared/xmdbjrrok4

    Also...would anyone happen to know how these could be easily replicated in Finale?? I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out how to...I've tried slurs, smart shapes, and the Toccata font, but none either look good or work.

    Thanks for your help!!

    -Ken

  2. #2

    Re: Harp Question

    Hi Ken,

    Aside from the obvious differences of using different scales (you do know you need to indicate a proper scale matching the prevailing harmony, right?) and starting the gliss in opposite directions, the main difference is the first example clearly specifies the intra-gliss limits by pitch, whereas the second does not. However, in performance, the actual effect wouldn't be that much different. Both are perfectly adequate examples of notating an ad lib gliss.

    You might also simply dispense with the squiggles if you're not too particular about the actual gliss pattern.

    I don't currently use Finale, but in most programs notation and playback of these kinds of things are usually best handled separately. I typically notate silently using something like one of your examples, but code the actual playback in a hidden layer, specifying the actual pitches and rhythm (which typically amounts to a mess of of very short notes which would only clutter up the score if actually displayed).

    You also might want to do a search on "harp packets", which I believe are midi files of canned scales for various chords. I've never used them because it's simpler to just indicate exactly what is needed, but I believe those using sequencers (in lieu of notation) have found them useful for certain things.

    Regards,
    Darwin

  3. #3
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    Re: Harp Question

    Ken

    Harp Gliss No. 1 does look nicer but traditionally it is notated as shown in No. 2. On the harp notes can be played "enharmonically" (same pitch on two different strings like the A# and B in the example) and this is what make glisses sound the way they do.

    Anything that helps the player get a sense of the piece is preferable. Also it is helpful to provide the harpist with pedal diagrams.

    I think the difference is just artistic license and glissandi are often used for ornament and effect. Example No 2 does convey to the player the cadences and how the composer wants the player to run the fingers across the strings. Whether flowing, fast, furious, graceful or wild - glissandi are the most expressive and unique thing about the harp.

    Best,

    Gary

    Quote Originally Posted by tptsareamazing View Post
    Hey everyone,

    I'm uploading two images of two types of glissandos I've seen in other scores, and want to use in a score of mine, as I'm looking for a sort of ad lib glissando effect. My only question is...what's the difference? If any harpists (Gary...) can shed some light on the differences in performance of the two glisses please help me out so I know which one is more appropriate to use. (Personally, I like the look of the first one much better )

    Gliss #1 - http://www.box.net/shared/o6cnsa7ksc
    Gliss #2 - http://www.box.net/shared/xmdbjrrok4

    Also...would anyone happen to know how these could be easily replicated in Finale?? I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out how to...I've tried slurs, smart shapes, and the Toccata font, but none either look good or work.

    Thanks for your help!!

    -Ken

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