Saturday, 23 April 2011


Only a few years ago if you had asked your average teenager (who wasn't into classical music) about whether they knew of any harpists they wouldn't have been able to name one.

Ask a teenager now, and they will mention Tom Moth (under a new name!) the harpist in Florence and the Machine.

It's really great that the harp is becoming "hip" and is slipping into mainstream music and losing it's reputation of being "a girly classical instrument."

Just came across this remix done by Tom of an indie track by missdavinalee - with lots of lovely harp!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Harp Twins

What an entrance!

That is going to take some beating - plus a challenge to all young harp duos out there to think of a better way of getting on stage without going to the extreme of Lady GaGa and arriving on stage carried in an egg :-)

Identical twins Camille and Kennerly Diebold, playing All I Ask of You from Phantom of the Opera

Check out the 1927 Wurlitzer pipe organ playing approx 2:50 in.....

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

microphone position

Recorded two of Andy Scott's pieces for flute & harp yesterday with two amazing and brilliant flautists, for a CD coming out of all Andy's compositions for flute. Details about the CD to follow in due course!

Sonata for flute & harp with Clare Southworth, and Paquito with Andy Findon.

Today I don't have any blisters on my fingers, but they feel really bruised to the touch, and I generally feel like I've been run over by a bus.

So it's an admin morning and definitely no playing until later!

Really pleased with the sound of the harp on the recording, ended up putting the microphones pretty much behind the harp. A stereo pair in front of course, but probably it will be mostly the close up mics on the final mix.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Jamet exercises

I've recently had another go at doing the 16 exercices journaliers pour harpe by Marie-Claire Jamet as a technical warm up each morning instead of my usual round of Salzedo exercises, and have been doing these now for several months.

I had an aborted attempt at these last year but gave up doing them when I started to get a sore wrist and shooting pains up my arm, something which I have never suffered from before and quite frankly it frightened the life out of me.

This time, I've left out doing all of the series 2 exercises in the book, and hurrah, no pains in the arms, but a satisfying warm-up work out for the fingers.

Funnily enough, I had a chat to a harpist friend about this book of exercises and she told me that she had to stop doing them because they gave her terrible RSI....

So it's not just me.

These are great warm up exercises for the advanced player. But I would recommend skipping series 2 when working through the book and coming back to them at the end when you are seriously warmed up.

quick info about Marie Claire Jamet

quick info about Pierre Jamet

Friday, 1 April 2011

Paris harp shop 2

Back this morning from a tour with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky Manfred Symphony - 7 concerts in 7 different European cities in 8 days..... including travelling days to and from the UK!

We had a few spare hours in Paris so managed to fit in a visit to the wonderful harp shop near the Arc de Triomphe, Le Magasin de la Harpe.

Yet again, Alexandre Budin very generously gave up his time to show us the amazing historic harps he has in his workshop, a few doors down from his shop. Erards in the front of the photo below, and Pleyel chromatic harp at the back/middle.

And what a great collection of harp music he has to browse through!

He also showed us a couple of Sylvain Blassel's harps which are kept downstairs. His small Erat harp is absolutely stunning to look at and has the most amazing tone.

Here is a video of Sylvain playing Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Tarrega on the Erat.

Check out his fingering of the repeated notes throughout, also his use of the little finger in the left hand. Very interesting!!!

I'm going to see if I can work out using this fingering and whether I can actually use my left hand pinky on my Salvis. I fear the tension on the Salvi will be too much for my little fingers alas!

It's very easy to just repeat what we have been taught and say that we don't play using our little fingers, but as Alexandre said, "why not?"

why not indeed.

Japanese style Erard harp - only around 7 ever built!