“The Little Fountain... again?”
Perhaps that question has gone through your mind at a student recital as yet another proud harpist steps up to show off his or her arpeggios with this perennial favorite. And it is a favorite, but it’s not the only arpeggio-rich piece in our harp repertoire.
So in case you feel like a change in your arpeggio music, I offer 12 possibilities that may intrigue you.
Obviously, much of the harp literature uses arpeggios, but I had more specific criteria for my choices. I wanted to find pieces where the arpeggios were an integral part of the fabric and texture of the piece, not just a flourish.
I looked for music that was at an intermediate level and which was fairly short, nothing that was in the realm of “concert” repertoire. Of course, any of these pieces would be great for recitals or background music, but they aren’t exclusively for virtuoso players. Plus, most of them (all but two) are playable on lever harp.
“Throw a stone into the stream and the ripples that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
The ripple effect is generally understood to mean the expanding impact of a single action, for instance the increase in good feeling from a single good deed.
In harp playing, we seek a different, but no less impactful, type of ripple effect: the rippling effect of well-played and musical arpeggios. Arpeggios rank second only to glissandos as the most characteristic of harp sounds. They can bring out the warm, liquid tones of the harp, or sound heroic and virtuosic, as the music requires.
Clearly then, we harpists want to be sure our arpeggios have that magical ripple that comes from confident and secure playing. Let’s consider the three qualities of beautiful arpeggios and the seven keys to creating them in your arpeggios.
The Three Qualities
Probably the most obvious difference between a beautifully played arpeggio and...