Harp Notation Basics

By • October 30, 2007

One of the most useful, and yet least understood, instruments in your orchestral colors is the modern harp. As a composer (or orchestrator working for a composer) remember my dictum to do all in your power to help your players shoot for a perfect read-through? Along those lines, you owe it to yourself or your client to learn at least the basics of the notation which will get you through most situations without time-wasting questions.

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By Mike ClaRK on May 6th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

This was very helpful to me. I’m looking for pedal settings for all the different glissandi and effects that a harp can do. If you know of or have any information that can help me find these diagrams please let me know asap. I have a piece I have to possibly write a Pop arrangement for 3 harps (one Professional and 2 students) and a full orchestra. I’m a keyboard player , but I don’t have a clue about harp playing or it’s language and pedal settings.
It’s the biggest account I will have to date and I am terrified, so I’m doing as much research as I can to get ready.


Mike Clark

By Susannna on March 16th, 2010 at 4:35 am

Very helpful, especially for the text font hit. Thanks!

By Susannna on March 16th, 2010 at 4:37 am

I meant “hint”, btw ;0)

By Martin Moore on April 21st, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Have written for brass bands, choirs, orchestras but have never had to write for harp before. Thanks for your help

By Wally on December 2nd, 2010 at 9:22 am

Example 3 shows ways of indicating pedal changes (I think “F” should be “G”, but the right hand is very difficult to play. Harpists only use four fingers – no pinky. Depending on the tempo, s/he will have to jump up and play at least one of those quintuplet sixteenths with the left hand.

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