View Full Version : Harp Glissandos?

05-05-2005, 12:29 AM
Does anyone have any Harp Glissandos great and smaller they could send to me at jacobe111@iinet.net.au preferably in SCORE / Sibelius / Cubase SX3 or MIDI Format?


Lee Blaske
05-05-2005, 05:17 AM
If you're not going to use pre-played gliss samples, it's quite easy to make them your own. Simply run the back of your finger across the white keys on a keyboard, transposing to the key that you want. That way, you can make exactly what you need to fit a particular situation, making glisses that are simple to florid. It doesn't take much in the way of technique to do this. Keep the mode in mind (i.e. ionian [major] from C to C, Aeolin [minor] A to A, etc.). If you need fewer than seven notes per octave in your gliss (e.g. sixth chord, whole tone scale, etc.) simply open up the gliss you played and adjust the notes in a graphic MIDI editor window, duplicating certain notes (that's how it's done on a harp).

For some really fast glisses, I'll sometimes use my other hand as a stop to make sure my glissing hand doesn't over-shoot. It's also easy to adjust time in a MIDI editor window. For instance, after you play your gliss, open up the editor and slide things over so that the last note hits where it's supposed to.

Lee Blaske

05-05-2005, 06:32 AM
That's a great tip! Thanks!

05-05-2005, 06:42 AM
Just to emphasis something Lee said, do a quick study on the mechanics of the harp - what the native tuning is, what the pedals do, and so forth. A few minutes of understanding how it works will go a long way toward being able to produce realistic sounding parts.

05-05-2005, 10:37 AM
Ditto to what LHall said; the harp has 7 string classes, each controlled by a pedal. In order of placement, they're D, C, B, E, F, G, A (though that's largely irrelevant for your purposes). The pedal can make its string class sharp or flat by a halfstep. So I'd say, pick a first note and a last note, do the finger drag on the white keys, then transpose as needed (i.e. if you're in G, grab all your Fs and make them F#s, as if the harpist had lifted the pedal).

For what it's worth, I had a harpist in a session last Friday, and though I had written a gliss, I found it was too muddy and ringy when played. The solution we arrived at was to have her apreggiate a chord up (almost) the full range of the instrument. So it sounded "glissy," but didn't have any annoying seconds, fourths, etc.

Good luck. In the words of my client, the harp is "the instrument of God."

05-05-2005, 07:55 PM
Thanks to all for your comments.

Best regards to all