A Musical Game for 1 to 100 Harpists
by Deborah Henson-Conant

About this Edition of “Califypso”

I created this piece originally as a ‘game’ to play with audiences, and there’s a big ‘audience percussion solo’ in the middle of the piece. Later, I orchestrated it for symphony, and each of the ‘improv’ sections features a different ‘family’ of instruments: woodwinds, strings, brass, percussion and … of course …. a harp chorus.

It’s a game that gives harpists a chance to develop musical leadership as well as rhythm and improvisation skills and it’s really fun to teach and to play in concert.

It’s also a really fun improv game to play with others, since it’s fun to both create the accompaniment AND improvise over that accompaniment and each develops different skills. Accompanying develops a strong rhythmic pulse, and melodic improv develops … well, melodic improv chops! AND you can play the game with any instrument.

The first 3 sections (Melody – Jam Section – Jam Section) can be repeated as many times as you want before continuing to the Percussion Jam. You can also repeat the Jam Section as many times as you want in between each melody. It’s entirely modular.

Where does this piece fit in the Harp Repertoire?

This piece can be played in concert as an encore, or in a show for children. There’s full orchestration for it, so it can also be played with orchestra as a mini-harp feature for solo harp or harp ensemble. To create an even bigger feature, the harpist can create an introduction and/or can add and develop additional jam sections – and feature their specific talents – from harp playing to singing, dancing, or picking up a different instrument.

The modular structure creates an opening for infinite creative invention.

Video Play-Through

Below is a video playthrough of the music with a metronome so you can play along and get familiar with the sequence we usually play the sections in.  Please note that the page numbers you see in the video may change, and even some of the notes may change if we discover mistakes in the sheet music or develop the arrangement.  So don’t watch it for perfection – only for seeing how everything fits together, and to play along.

You can speed up or slow down the video with the little gear in the bottom right of the video. (this video was added Apr. 8, 2024)

BELOW: Once you know the form, try playing along with this concert video with the Salzberg Philharmonie and the Salzberg HarpBreakers.  

To slow the video down click on the little gear icon.
Scroll down the page to see additional trainings on each section of the piece.

The Legacy Project Creative Team

for Califypso Gameboard Edition

Sally Walstrum  •  Heleen Vandeputte  •  Tammy Halun  •  Gustavo Muñoz  •  Verena Jochum  •  Mary Robinson

When you purchase the music you’ll see the names of the amazing musicians who helped me edit this music to make it more readable and playable for YOU! These harpists from all around the world, of many different playing levels, sent me videos, PDFs, and bullet lists of suggestions to help me hone my conception of the piece and bring it to youThank you so much to everyone on the Legacy Project Creative Team for this project!!

First Readers:
Hip Harp Academy Members

Special thanks to Sally Walstrum, Tammy Halun and the Snippeteers!

Deborah Henson-Conant & Hip Harp Academy Present


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