Re: [Harp-L] Going Solo?

Mike Fugazzi wrote:
<For you one man band types...anyone able to pull off a three set
<I guess my reservations are in trying to play a full 4 hour gig (up to
<3 one hour sets).  I've thought about adding a guitar player for about
<half the night.  Any ideas or suggestions?  

I think it's hard to work a 3-hour solo with a harp, especially since you can't sing and play harp at the same time.  It's also pretty lonely.  I suggest that a guitar player or keyboard player will add a lot of value both for you and the audience.

I worked solo gigs with acoustic harp for several years, and I found when I added a guitarist that audiences were much better able to appreciate the unaccompanied harp.  It's a reference point for the audience, and it helps get the rest of the message across.

Regarding John Potts's point that the harp has limited chording capabilities: yes and no.  It'll never be as flexible as a guitar or piano, of course.  But you can get a lot more mileage from chords than most harp players do by 1) using non-standard tunings such as natural minor, dorian minor, and country tuning, and 2) using spread chord voicings, i.e. 6ths, octaves, 10ths, 12ths, etc.  It takes a little practice, but it works.  But the big issue remains: you can't sing and play the harp at the same time.  

Regards, Richard Hunter 

author, "Jazz Harp" 
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