Sylvia Woods Harp Center
June 2020 Newsletter
A Personal Note from Sylvia
I know that many of you are happily and productively using your "at home" time to expand your harp repertoire. Well done! However, you might also want to work on your music theory knowledge and expand your harp techniques. The books and PDFs in this month's sale will give you some help in this endeavor.

If you have a small lever harp, another useful skill you can work on is learning to re-arrange music to fit your instrument. That's the subject of the main article in this newsletter. The examples I present are for harps with 26 strings. However, no matter how many strings are on your lever harp, I hope you'll find my suggestions useful.
Today, June 11, is King Kamehameha Day! See the section below to learn about this Hawaiian state holiday.

I hope that you and your family and other loved ones are safe and healthy. Keep on harping!

Aloha,
Sylvia
Re-Arranging Music for Small Harps
I often get emails from customers asking if my music can be played on a 26-string harp. If you have a small lever harp, you'll need to get good at what I call "fudging" the left hand. This will significantly expand your possible repertoire, because you won't be limited to music arranged for very small harps. "Fudging" is a great skill to work on this month!
I'll start with some historical information about the books that I've written. When I wrote my first book, Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp back in 1978, my harp was a Witcher Celtic Harp with 30 strings. (You can see this harp on the cover of my book.) The lowest string was the G that is ten strings below middle C, the lowest note on the bass clef staff. Therefore, that is the lowest note that I used in that book. Most of my other early books also used that range, including The Harp of Brandiswhiere, 50 Christmas Carols, Irish Dance Tunes, 40 O'Carolan Tunes, and the Hymns and Wedding book. In the mid-1980s, I got a larger harp, so many of my later books have some notes that go down to the lower C, two octaves below middle C.

For this article, I'm going to assume that you have a 26-string harp with a C as the lowest string. But the concepts will work on any small harp. So, grab your copy of my Teach Yourself book and follow along with these examples.
I usually start having the "left hand fudging" conversation with my 26-string harp students when they get to "The Grenadier and the Lady" on page 40 in Lesson 6 of my Teach Yourself book. This piece is in the key of A minor. (A minor is the "relative minor" of the key of C, as both keys have no sharps or flats.) Four identical measures in this piece require a low A, shown in this example. The "fix" for these measures is easy. Just play the first A in the measure an octave higher than written, as shown after the red arrow in the example.
Sample Grenadier





This same technique works two pages later on the first and last measures of "Searching for Lambs."

"Greensleeves" on page 43 is also in A minor. The only low A in this version is the very last note, which you can easily play an octave higher. You'll often find that the final note of a song is low to give it a "finished" sound, but you can play it up an octave.

"Gilliekrankie" on page 63 has another example: a 4-note A minor chord, starting on the low A. There are a variety of ways you can play this, as shown in this example. Just choose the one you like the best, or come up with your own!
Sample Gilliekrankie



"Ash Grove" on page 64 has four low Gs. For the 3-note left-hand chord in the beginning pick-up measure, just play the highest G.
Ash Grove pick-up



You have several choices for the G in the last measure on the first page, as shown here.
Sample Ash Grove



The other two low Gs in "Ash Grove" can be left out: don't play any note in the left hand on those beats.

Here are a few more examples of the types of problems you might encounter in other pieces, with several possible solutions.
Sample 1



Sample 2



Knowing some basic music theory will also be extremely helpful. My Music Theory and Arranging Techniques book will teach you about chords and inversions. For example, a G major chord is made up of the three notes G, B, and D. Inversions are the chord notes played in a different order. In a first inversion G chord, the B is the lowest note (B, D, G), and a second inversion has a D on the bottom (D, B, G), as shown here. Often, just changing the inversion of the chord in your left hand will make the music fit your harp.
Sample Inversions






After I wrote my Teach Yourself book, I started including chord symbols in most of the books and sheets that I have arranged and published, making it easy for you to know which notes to choose. If no chord symbols are listed, my Music Theory book will, once again, help you figure them out.
If your 26-string harp has C as the lowest note, your top string is a very high G, four ledger lines above the treble clef staff. So, if the highest note in the music you want to play does not go above the G that sits right on top of the treble staff, you can play the entire piece an octave higher than written. Just move both hands an octave up! I mention this in the description of some of my pieces of sheet music, which can all be played this way. For example, Fields of Gold, A Thousand Years, and Say Something.
Sample G to G
Sometimes, particularly on more advanced pieces, there's not much that you can do to play them on a small harp, except to completely re-arrange them, or perhaps transpose them to another key. If this happens, you need to decide if it is worth the time and effort you'll have to put into it, or if it would be better to choose a different piece to play. If you are going to re-arrange it, don't be afraid to ask for "professional help" by getting some lessons from a harp teacher who specializes in arranging. Their advice and assistance will be invaluable!

In conclusion, work on "fudging" the music in your left hand to fit your harp. Here's a summary of the possibilities I've discussed here: raise the low note (or series of notes) an octave higher; leave out the note; change the left-hand rhythm; use a different chord inversion; or play both hands an octave higher. There are, of course, many other options you can try. Feel free to experiment. If you like the sound of what you come up with, it is most likely "correct!"

P.S. My Music Theory and Arranging Techniques and my Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp books are on sale this month. None of the other books or sheets listed in this article are discounted, since they are not part of the Sale Section below.
Happy King Kamehameha Day!
Kamehameha statue
This article is part of my ongoing series about Hawaii .

Today, June 11 is a state holiday here in Hawaii: King Kamehameha I Day.

Kamehameha I, also known as Kamehameha the Great, unified the Hawaiian islands into the Kingdom of Hawai'i in the early 1800s. The holiday was first proclaimed in 1871 by King Kamehameha V to honor his grandfather. It was one of the first holidays authorized by the governor and state legislature when Hawaii became a state in 1959.

The holiday is celebrated here with floral parades, hula, music, food, exhibitions, crafts, and other aspects of Hawaiian cultural traditions. One of the central events is the draping of the Kamehameha statue in Honolulu with long strands of lei. This statue stands in front of Aliʻiōlani Hale, the former government seat of both the Kingdom of Hawaii and the Republic of Hawaii. It is now the home of the State Supreme Court. Replicas of the statue on other Hawaiian islands are also draped in lei. State and county offices are closed on this day, as well as some of the local banks.
Kamehameha DC
There's a copy of the Kamehameha statue in Washington, D.C. Here's some information from Wikipedia.
A third replica was commissioned when Hawaii attained statehood and was unveiled in 1969. It stood in the United States Capitol alongside the Father Damien Statue and was the heaviest statue in Statuary Hall, weighing 15,000 pounds. In 2008, shortly after Hawaii-born Barack Obama was nominated as the Democratic Party's candidate for the presidency, the statue was moved from a dark, back row of Statuary Hall to a prominent position in Emancipation Hall in the Capitol's new visitor center.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, all Kamehameha celebrations have been canceled in Hawaii this year. We are all looking forward to their return in 2021.

Photo credits:
First photo by Mark Miller, Wikipedia - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Second photo by Alacoolwiki - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
This month's sale
This month's sale features books and PDFs to help you hone a variety of harp and music skills and techniques. The code word is Fun.

To get the 15% discount on the products below, enter the code word Fun in the Promo Code box on your shopping cart page and click "Enter Code" by June 30, 2020. For more information, see the "How to get the 15% discount" section at the bottom of this newsletter.
Book or PDF
by Sylvia Woods
15% off with Fun code
PDF
by Sylvia Woods
15% off with Fun code
PDF
for pedal harp by Sylvia Woods
15% off with Fun code
PDF
Book or PDF
by Sylvia Woods
15% off with Fun code
PDF
Book or PDF
by Sylvia Woods
15% off with Fun code
PDF
for pedal harp by Ray Pool
15% off with Fun code
for lever harp by Ray Pool
15% off with Fun code
PDF
by Ray Pool
15% off with Fun code
PDF
by Felice Pomeranz
15% off with Fun code
by Louise Trotter
15% off with Fun code
PDF
by Louise Trotter
15% off with Fun code
PDF
by I. Mac Perry
15% off with Fun code
How to get the 15% discount
15% off select sale items when you use the code word Fun

Our newsletter promo codes are redeemable online and are only valid for the items featured in the sale section of this newsletter. They are not valid for phone or email orders. This month's code word is Fun , and it is valid for 15% off the select books and PDFs in the sale section above. Just because an item is mentioned somewhere in this newsletter doesn't mean that it is on sale. It must be in the sale section.  
 
Here's how to get your newsletter discount at harpcenter.com :
#1. Put the items you want to purchase in your cart. 
#2. On the page where you view the items in your cart, type this month's code word Fun in the "Promo Code" box and click on "Enter Code."
The actual price of the featured sale products on this page will then automatically change to reflect the discount. You'll also see a note below the Promo Code box saying the name of the promo code you entered and the percentage amount of the discount.  
 
REMEMBER: you must enter this month's code word Fun in the Promo Code box and click "Enter Code" on your shopping cart page by June 30, 2020 to get the discount!
If you forget, or if you have trouble adding it to your order, email Sylvia immediately .  
 
Offer expires at the end of the day on 6/30/2020.
Sylvia Woods Harp Center
Lihue, Hawaii
(808) 212-9525