Chords, especially chords with four notes, can be troublesome for harpists. We have to find all the right strings, have the notes sound balanced, roll the chords evenly, or play them perfectly unbroken. A little bit of dedicated chord practice will go far toward making your chords more beautiful and more expressive.
And of course, it’s even better when you can make that chord practice your daily warm-up. Here’s one way to do it, practicing unbroken chords, chords with both hands rolled together and rolled from the bottom up and the top down:
- Place a four note chord in each hand.
- Play each finger in turn, holding the other strings. Play slowly, concentrating on tone and full finger action.
- Play the chord unbroken, once again listening for tone, using your best technique and keeping your fingers and hands relaxed. Play this several times.
- Play right hand and left hand together, note by note, starting with fourth fingers.
- Play the hands together, one note at a time, bottom to top, getting gradually faster until you have a chord that is a quick simultaneous roll.
- Arpeggiate the chord, playing slowly up and down.
- Arpeggiate the chord up from the bottom, gradually faster, until you achieve a quick even roll bottom to top.
- Arpeggiate the chord down from the top, gradually faster, until you achieve a quick even roll top to bottom.
This video demonstrates those steps in action.