Notes from a harp-gurl in the jungle of guitar-land.  April 6, 2012 8:52 pm

I’m in the first week of this great but I’m taking it on harp.

So I get to one of the first exercises, which is to read a series of notes on the treble staff.  “Ha!” thinks I, “now this is something I can do without even breaking a  sweat.  I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. Maybe I’ll just skip this exercise.”

But I read on, to where it says that when you see a black dot on the staff, you should try to locate it somewhere on your instrument.

Woahhh…. “somewhere” on your instrument? I mean … a note is where it is, right???

Then I remember that, on a guitar — like on a violin – or any instrument with multiple strings and a neck — the same note can be in a bunch of different places depending on which string you play it on.

So … is that translatable to the harp, or on my instrument is it more like “An A is an A is an A —  and it lives in the A place”?

I think, “Naaa … that’s a guitar thing …

…and then I remember harmonics!  I could play the same pitch of A-above-middle-C on the A-above-middle-C … or I could play it on the string an octave lower, but make it sound at the pitch “A-above-middleC”  by playing that lower A as a harmonic.  And if I play the note two octaves below but do it as a different kind of harmonic, I’ll hear the same upper A, but on yet a different string.

And then I think … wait!  If I use a tuning key to fret a string, I could make that same pitch of “A” on ANY string that’s below it!  And … and … and if I used two chopsticks I could maybe get two adjacent strings to both sound the pitch “A” at the same time in two different places … and if I played the regular A and the chopstick A’s at the same time I’d be playing 3 A’s in three different places … and if I …

Which is just ONE reason I’m taking this class.

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