Redefining idiomatic writing for the pedal harp

Scheuregger, Martin (2020) Redefining idiomatic writing for the pedal harp. Contemporary Music Review . ISSN 0749-4467

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Redefining idiomatic writing for the pedal harp
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Abstract

Sounds of shimmering glissandi and resonant arpeggios combine with romantic and angelic imagery to form a stereotype of the modern pedal harp as an instrument capable of a relatively narrow band of expression. Similarly, its fundamentally diatonic design gives rise to issues with chromatic music that its pedal system addresses without fully negating. Taking pitch and timbre as means through which to reconsider the instrument, this paper presents an approach that reflects and celebrates the inherent properties of the harp whilst redefining what idiomatic writing might be. A reappraisal of the instrument’s sonic qualities contrasts typical sounds with alternative approaches to timbre. The pitch limitations of the harp inform a new method for localised and structural pitch organisation that is rooted in the pedal mechanism of the instrument. These new modalities and alternative timbres are illustrated with a range of compositional examples throughout.

Keywords:Harp, composition, set theory, timbre, contemporary music
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:39128
Deposited On:09 Dec 2019 10:03

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