My interest in rhythm explorations and hand separation has evolved organically through my love of texture, soundscape and my insatiable appetite for collaboration. I hope you enjoy this selection of exercises and études and that it inspires and helps you in your own journey to realising your musical potential.
I hope this book will be a gentle guide to encourage harpists into the greater world of rhythmic possibilities and hand separation. I’d like to emphasise the point that a solid sense of time and greater rhythmic understanding doesn’t mean more complex and syncopated material. More and more, I find myself wanting to play less but play what I do play more accurately and (most importantly) beautifully! I say this so that the beginning student will not be put off by some of the more complex etudes and examples. All of this material can be scaled down to the fundamentals and should be taken and understood at whatever pace is right for the student. A student might play the first page of ostinato-based exercises for a year at a very slow tempo. If they play the material with accuracy and understanding then that is a great accomplishment. For those with greater technical skills or experience with sophisticated rhythms, don’t let the end of this book be the end of your explorations.
For every étude you master, create your own. Turn it inside out, make something cooler! You are your own best teacher. As players of a marginalised instrument in contemporary music it is our collective job to push its boundaries and create music that illuminates the harp as a 21st century instrument. Whether that involves simply understanding and supporting the possibilities or bringing them alive, I hope this book is a help along the way.
Copyright © Debra Wanless Music 2020