SM0377 Teach yourself to play the Folk Harp

Cover image Teach yourself to play the Folk Harp
Sylvia Woods
Contents: Tutor / Method Book
see Table of Contents
and Contents panels below
Instrumentation: Lever Harp
Level: Beginner Harpist
Format: US Letter spiral bound
ISMN / Publisher Ref: 9780936661421
Publisher: Sylvia Harps Harp Center
Edition/Year: 30th Anniversary Edition
1978 - Revised 2008
Origin: USA
Our Ref: SM0337

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Other music by Sylvia Woods

Table of Contents

Teach yourself to play the Folk Harp
Sylvia Woods

This is the first book written exclusively for the folk harp that teaches the student how to play the instrument, step by step. Each of the 12 lessons includes instructions, exercises and folk and classical pieces using the new skills and techniques taught in the lesson. This is an excellent book for any student, regardless of previous musical training.

Introduction to the 30th Anniversary Edition

30 years ago, in 1978, when 1 wrote this book, the harp world was a far different place than it is today. There were only a handful of craftspeople making harps, and they often had waiting lists of a year or more. Because of this, harps were not as easy to purchase as they are today. There were also only a few recordings (LPs) of music performed on lever or folk harps.

When I began teaching, I realized that there was also a lack of music for the folk harp. Most of the music available was for the pedal harp, or for young children whose legs weren't long enough to reach the pedals. I couldn't find books that were suitable for the people who were becoming interested in the resurgence of the folk harp. That is why I wrote this book.

Folk harp teachers were also hard to find at that time. There were lots of pedal harp teachers, but a vast majority of them were not interested in teaching anything that didn't have pedals. This is why I entitled the book "Teach Yourself," because in those days, that was the only option for most players. And thousands of players have done just that. . . they have taught themselves to play just using this book, and also perhaps the video or the DVD.

Luckily, today you don't have to do it on your own. There are thousands of teachers throughout the US (and other parts of the world!) who are ready and willing to help you leam to play the harp. I highly recommend that you start lessons with a teacher as soon as possible. No matter how good a "teach yourself' book may be, the guidance and feedback you get from a teacher is invaluable. It is easy to get into bad habits without someone "looking over your shoulder" and showing you the correct way. Bad habits are harder to fix later than if you learn correctly from the beginning.

The "Thanks To" section on page 2 of this book is from the original edition. On the first line you'll see that I thank "Katharine, Shawna, and Heidi for being great guinea pigs." These were three of my first students, and were the first people to learn the harp by using this book. I'd like to give you an update on them. Katharine has been "taking some time off" from the harp, but has recently begun to play again on both lever and pedal harp. Shawna was 11 years old when she started lessons with me. She's now a professional harp player named Shawna Selline, and we sell her CDs on our website. And Heidi is Heidi Spiegel, a harpist who has been working for me since 1988 and who is an invaluable asset to the Sylvia Woods Harp Center. She is also a fine artist who has illustrated the covers of over a dozen of my books and pieces of sheet music.

In this 30th Anniversary Edition, I have kept all of the music pages exactly as they were in the first edition. Only the introduction and appendix pages have been revised.

There are no sharps or flats in any of the pieces in this book. At the time I wrote this book, sharping levers were not nearly as good, or as accurate, as they are today. They generally did not give an accurate pitch when engaged, and often wore away the strings. Many harps sold at that time didn't have any levers at all. That's why you don't need any sharping levers to play the pieces in this book. (See pages 73 and 74 for more information on how to use sharping levers.)


Table of Contents

Introduction to the 30th Anniversary Edition
How to Use this Book
Types and Parts of Harps
Brief History of the Folk Harp
Holding the Harp
Hand Position
How to Read Music
Lesson 1
  fingerings and placing
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Yankee Doodle
Go Tell Aunt Rhodie
Lavender s Blue
Are You Sleeping
Lesson 2
  overlapping brackets
The Water Is Wide
White Choral Bells
Long, Long Ago
Country Gardens
Lesson 3
  Joy to the World
Blue Bells of Scotland
Lesson 4
  All through the Night
Robin Adair
Ode to Joy
Lesson 5
  bass clef
Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes
Planxty George Brabazon
Scarborough Fair
Lesson 6
  The Grenadier and the Lady
My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose
Searching for Lambs
Greensleeves or What Child Is This
Planxty Irwin
Lesson 7
  Trip to Sligo or Lark on the Strand
Lesson 8
  2- note chords
The Christ Child's Lullaby
Cherry Blooms (Sakura)
St. Anthony's Chorale
Lesson 9
  3- note chords
Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
Flow Gently, Sweet Afton
Theme from the New World Symphony
Lesson 10
  Cockles and Mussels
Au Clair de la Lune
Lesson 11
cross-overs and cross-unders
Ash Grove
Wild Mountain Thyme
Lesson 12
Minstrel Boy
Sheebeg Sheemore
Jesu, Joy of Man s Desiring
Tuning Your Harp
Sharps, Flats, and Key Signatures
Harp Tuning Methods
Accidentals and Lever Changes
Taking Care of Your Harp
Replacing Strings
Tying the Harp String Knot
Table of Symbols
Alphabetical Index of Tunes
What's Next?

List of Tunes

Teach yourself to play the Folk Harp
Sylvia Woods

Song List

1. Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring
2. Lullaby
3. Joy to the world
4. Long, long ago
5. Minuet
6. Lavender's Blue
7. Greensleeves
8. All Through the Night
9. Allemande
10. Water Is Wide
11. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
12. Ode to Joy
13. The Ash Grove
14. Au Clair de la Lune
15. New World Symphony (Theme)
16. Yankee doodle
17. The Blue Bells of Scotland
18. Country Gardens
19. Scarborough fair
20. Planxty Irwin
21. Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
22. Cockles And Mussels (Molly Malone)
23. O My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose
24. Wild Mountain Thyme
25. Go Tell Aunt Rhody
26. Flow Gently, Sweet Afton
27. Frere Jacques (Are You Sleeping?)
28. Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
29. Minstrel boy
30. Robin Adiar
31. Southwind
32. White Coral Bells
33. Farewell (Scottish)
34. Cherry Blooms (Japan)
35. Gilliekrankie (Irish) Connelan T.
36. St. Anthony Chorale
37. Trip To Sligo, The
38. Christ Child Lullaby
39. Planxty George Brabazon
40. Grenadier And The Lady, The
41. Searching For Lambs

Sample Page

Sample Page