Daily Dozen ~ harpyness

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Daily Dozen

I've been playing through Salzedo's "A Daily Dozen" as technical exercises a lot lately.


I'm a real fan of the "Conditional Exercises" and have been using them for years, and bought "Daily Dozen" last year as something new to try out.


I'm really not sure what I think about these. I find them very good, but have slight reservations about them - especially number 2 with the octave jumping. They do however deliver a condensed version of what you can achieve by going through something like the LARIVIERE book.


Like the "Conditioning Exercises" you can play through the whole book in just over 15 minutes which works as a good technical warm up.


I think the problem I have with them is that they are obviously designed to be done by players who use the Salzedo technique. I've not come across any players in the UK who do not use either the French or combination of French/Russian method of playing, so I must admit that I find the Salzedo technique really odd to look at with the high elbows.... I suppose it's a case of what you are used to!


With that in mind, exercises like the octave jumping in number 2 of Daily Dozen are probably lost on a harpist with French/Russian technique, although they are still fun to do.


Here is a good little video explaining the basics of the Salzedo technique


Unfortunately I couldn't find a similiar video showing French method but here is some text off the net explaining the differences...


There are two main methods of harp technique: the French (or Grandjany) method and the Salzedo method. Neither method has a definite majority among harpists, but the issue of which is better is a source of friction and debate. The distinguishing features of the Salzedo method are the encouragement of expressive gestures, elbows remain parallel to the ground, wrists are comparatively stiff, and neither arm ever touches the soundboard. The French method advocates lowered elbows, fluid wrists, and the right arm resting lightly on the soundboard. In both methods, the shoulders, neck, and back are relaxed. Some harpists combine the two methods into their own version that works best for them.


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