Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Harps

Holiday Harps, Harp Ornaments for Joyous Times, photographs and text compilation by Diana Stork, Tasha Waters and Ethan Snyderman. Published by Diana Stork, 2010, 46 pages, $ 15.00.
Available from: www.harpdancer.com. 

We all have a collection of harp ornaments and baubles, right? Well, “Holiday Harps” is a beautiful collection of full color photographs from Diana Stork’s ornament collection. You will enjoy combing through these pages and exploring photographs of ornaments new and old. Mixed throughout are quotes, poems, song lyrics about harps and music for your enjoyment. Each page has a quote, poem, song lyric or short history of the ornaments. This delightful, high-quality book is just 4 ½ inches wide and 6 ½ inches high, and even has a protective cover. It is the ideal stocking stuffer for yourself or a harpist friend!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"That's the way it was...."

Welcome to our new feature "That's the way it was..."
You will enjoy reading about things from the past. 

In this issue, we are taking some things from the Fall, 1951 issue of Harp News
Harp News was a predessor to the American Harp Journal.  
This cute little ad appeared on page 15.
I have removed the name and address of the business where you were to send your $ 3.25, as it does not exist anymore.
Does anyone have one of these?

The second item for your enjoyment from this issue of Harp News is a little "News Notes" item. It read as follows:

" Harpo Marx takes his harp and bag of tricks to Chicago October 11th to 21st to play and cavort at the Stockyards Amphitheatre during the annual Show and Rodeo. "

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harp Mouse Adventures-Book II

Harp Mouse Adventures-Book II, by Diane E Dunn. Illustrated by Donna Pellegata. Published by Heart & Harp, LLC, 2010. 24 pages. $ 6.95. Available from: http://www.heartandharp.net/.

Do you remember Diane’s first ‘harp mouse’ book, The Harp Mouse Chooses Her Home- The Adventure Begins? Well, in Book II the adventures continue! Follow the ‘harp mouse’, in the place where the harp lives and as she travels with her beloved harp and harpist to a school program and a beautiful wedding reception (where she visits with all the other mice from various walks of life).
This brilliantly illustrated book is an ideal gift for yourself, a harpist friend or a child in your life. I used a pair of the 'harp mouse' books along with a little mouse finger puppet as a gift for a new baby. If you ask, I'll bet Diane will sign your book for you!

Christmas Joy, Festive Christmas Music

Christmas Joy, Festive Christmas Music, arranged by Joanna Mell. Published by Joanna Mell, 2010.  51 pages.  $ 15.00. Available from: www.joannamell.com.

This new Christmas music collection includes 11 holiday favorites. Carol of the Bells, normally challenging because of the melodic minor, is arranged so there are no lever changes during the piece, it features harmonics and is very ‘play-able’. Ding, Don, Merrily on High has glisses and fun backwards rolled chords!
Keys include A minor, G major, E minor, C major, F major, and one is in the A dorian mode. 
Features include harmonics, triplets, sixteenth notes, and syncopated rhythms.
This book will be a nice addition to your performance and background repertoire and is appropriate for intermediate and even some late beginner players.

Mell tell us in her introduction that she has “purposefully not included sharping lever or pedal markings for accidentals or glissandi, so that the player may use his/her preferred system of markings.”
You will have to spend a bit of time organizing and marking the lever changes, particularly in Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. There are no chord symbols or suggested fingerings included.

Carols from Around the World

Carols from Around the World, Volume I, for lever and pedal harp without exception, arranged by Ray Pool. Published by Ray Pool, 2010, 25 pages. $ 20.00. 
Available from: http://www.raypool.com/.

Ray Pool always has something delightful to contribute to the world of published harp music.  Featured are 10 carols from Austria, Czechoslovakia, England, Ireland and Poland. Appropriate for intermediate players, this unique collection is designed to be played as 10 individual carols or they can be connected in pairs or even as a long medley of 10. Pool provides the appropriate modulation interlude if needed, including lever changes, leading to the key of the next piece. Pieces are in the keys of C, F and G. Special harp techniques include open left hand (thumb alone), rolled chords, P.D.L.T. and thumb sliding. Helpful fingerings and placings are included and lever changes are clearly marked. The back of the volume includes a lead sheet (melody and chords) and words for each tune. This is quite handy if you have a vocalist or instrumentalist you would like to work with and Pool gives permission to copy the lead sheets for use by your colleagues. There are no chord symbols included in the harp solo arrangements. This Volume I gives us a taste of what is yet to come. !

Fun with Music Theory

I discovered this fun Music Theory reference in my adventures as a book and music reviewer. It would mke a great favor or gift, plus it is a good place to go for information!

Notecracker Music Theory, by Peter Lind, Published by Wise Publications, 2007.
$ 3.95. Available from: www.halleonard.com.

This cute little reference piece is about 3 ¼ inches long, 1 ¼ inches wide and almost 1 inch thick.  It is riveted together at one end.   This little pack is a great reference, including everything from reading bass and treble clefs, to rhythmic values, to scales, intervals, chords (including chord symbols), musical terms and modes. This pack could fit anywhere, gig bag or instrument case and is a great reference tool.  It’s reasonable price makes it ideal as a student gift as well!  The little card pages have information on each side!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Harp Music in Print, 11/5/10

White Christmas, by Irving Berlin, arranged for harp by RoJean Loucks. Published by RoJean Loucks, 2010, 4 ½ pages. $ 4.95. Available from www.roharps.com. 

I have enjoyed RoJean’s various books of arrangements and original tunes, including “Reflections” and “Soul Dance”, among others.  We have awaited a harp arrangement of “White Christmas” for a long time and here it is!  RoJean is a creative arranger and uses beautiful chords through out.  This early intermediate arrangement features rolled chords, quarter note triplets a few syncopated rhythms and some scattered 16th notes. It can be played on a harp tuned in Eb, C or F with no problem at all. There are a few lever changes, all marked and reasonable to accomplish (suggestions are made in case you do not want to play with any lever changes at all). There are no fingerings or chord symbols provided. You will not want to pass up the opportunity to add this to your holiday repertoire!!!