Cheating ~ harpyness

Friday, 20 May 2011


Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony.

Spot the difference between chord symbols and pedal markings on this hire part?

(Double click on image to see closer view)

1. What is that harp part all about then? Pages and pages of badly written arpeggios that go at the speed of light with impossible page turns. The only way to play them is to cheat and read chord symbols instead.

2. Wouldn't it have been great to have been a fly on the wall and seen the confrontation between the first harpists who had to play this piece and Vaughan Williams? (I know what I would have said to him about it!)

3. Why is my own copy of this piece only partially marked up?

I try not to play this piece if I can all help it as it's not a joyous experience to play with it's constant fistfuls of notes, but I've played this three times now in the past year.

So I suppose it's about time I thoroughly marked up my own part rather than relying on scribbled on hire parts, so that I have a fighting chance of being able to actually read all that information on the page whilst playing it at speed..


  1. It's really a hard life for harpists...
    Greetings from an italian pianist who now plays celtic harp and is a fan of your blog :-)

  2. Thank you thank you thank you! I have been slaving over this ridiculous piece for a couple of weeks now faced with the reality that it is physically impossible to play what he wrote. Did I mention it is a ridiculous part? You have given me some wonderful idea about what to cut just so I can keep up.

    Katie (in NH)