[Harp-L] playing clean AND fast

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Thu Nov 5 10:11:58 EST 2020

Brian Stear wrote:
<I just recently did an uptempo video:
<I had trouble getting some of the fast stuff during the solo clean enough
to hear distinctly.?My <question to all of you is:?Are there any tips or
techniques for playing fast cleanly, except for <starting slow, and
speeding up? I'm hoping there's some tried and true practice regimens that
<I might not know of.Thanks for any and all help!

First, I really liked the statement of the melody in this performance.
Nice tone, swinging, fits right in with the accompaniment.  Good recording
quality too!  I noticed that you avoided vibrato more or less throughout;
I'll just note that players in the Swing era used very wide vibratos, and
you might want to try some.

Regarding playing fast: you sound to me like you're well on the way.  The
traditional approach to speed is to use a metronome and play the same
passages at increasing tempo, guided by the metronome.  Given time and
regular practice, that should do it.  Software metronomes for smart phones
are free and workable.

The second thing you might want to consider is to develop some
tongue-switching skills so you can jump wide intervals by moving your
tongue instead of the harp.  This technique is especially useful when the
melody changes direction frequently with jumps of a 4th or more.

In any case, it's already sounding good.

Thanks, Richard Hunter

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Author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
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